Angola ready for mini-grid solutions

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Thando Mnkandhla

Windhoek - The African Development Bank (AfDB) says 9,9 million Angolans – representing around 32 percent of the country’s population – stand to benefit from a systematic rollout of mini-grid electricity solutions, thus reducing poverty and spurring development.

According to the institution’s Angola country manager Joseph Ribeiro, in the Angola Green Mini-Grid Market Assessment Report, the energy sector was central to the success of the country’s economic diversification plans.

The Angolan economy primarily relies on extraction of hydrocarbons and diamonds, and President João Lourenço government is keen to nurture new bases for growth and development.

Central to this is an energy sector development strategy that seeks to improve grid stability by 2025 independently of what happens on oil markets.

National director for electrification in the Water and Energy Ministry, Serafim Silveira, underscored the importance of mini-grids to the government's development agenda, while AfDB division manager for renewable energy, João Cunha, said the report would inform the design of technical assistance to the Angolan government in preparation for rollout of a broad mini-grid initiative.

The AfDB report pointed out regulatory gaps in the energy sector that are proving to be a bottleneck for unlocking mini-grid private sector investments worth as much as US$252,5 million.

Angola’s drive towards a sustainable energy mix by 2025 was underscored by International Energy Agency executive director Mouhamadou Cisse at a ministerial roundtable in June when he called for greater investment in energy as a poverty alleviation strategy.

"We will not have harmonious economic and social development in African countries if we do not address the issue of reliable and affordable energy, especially in rural areas. The potential of the continent is enormous," he said.

Cisse added: "Africa needs structural energy investments in order to develop its full potential. Africa needs to be supported to participate actively in the energy transition by respecting its global environmental commitments."

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