Sub-Saharan African countries met on September 3, 2019 in Lomé, Togo, for a seminar on solar projects. During the meeting, they resolved to establish a supranational legal framework for the submission and financing of solar energy projects.
They could constitute the G6 of solar energy in Africa. Benin, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Mali, Niger, Togo and Burkina Faso met in Lomé to discuss the possibility of setting up a supranational procurement framework for solar energy. The platform will contribute to lowering the costs of solar energy projects in order to improve access to electricity for the population. Once established, national legislative and regulatory frameworks will be harmonised to facilitate free procurement in the area. The procurement framework will be effective through the aggregation of demand and the establishment of common guarantee mechanisms for member countries.
The dialogue that recently ended in Lomé is an initiative of the Togolese Ministry of Mines and Energy, in partnership with the International Solar Alliance. The workshop work was preceded by a feasibility study conducted by Ernst & Young under the coordination of the French Development Agency. For Ousmane Diawara, the firm’s financial advisor (quoted by the newspaper La Sentinelle Démocrate), “solar potential exists in sub-Saharan Africa, but today, the bottlenecks are the absence of a harmonised legal framework that promotes adequate financing and guarantees.”
Indeed, the expansion of solar energy in sub-Saharan Africa is constrained by several other factors, including the high cost of technology and scarcity of information. Yet renewable energy is the solution most states are turning to address the climate threat. Togo, for example, which hosts the meeting of heads of state, plans to electrify 50% of households with off-grid solar energy by 2023. This ambition can be accelerated with the establishment of the common procurement area with other African countries that is being created.