Africa to Use Renewables to Bolster its Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The African Union and IRENA join hands to strengthen rural health centers and communities to deal with the health challenges using renewable energy


The African Union Commission (AUC) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) have agreed to work together to promote renewable energy across the African continent and to bolster Africa’s response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

According to the press statement issued by IRENA, the two organizations will focus on innovative solutions to drive the development of renewable energy, including decentralized systems, and to increase access to energy across the continent.

“The cooperation aims to bolster Africa’s response to the pandemic by improving the ability of rural health centers and communities to deal with the health challenges using renewable energy to power critical services such as medical equipment and water pumping for improving hygiene,” IRENA said.

IRENA added that Africa possesses vast renewables energy potential that could cover nearly a quarter of its energy needs through indigenous renewable energy by 2030.

IRENA states, “The deployment of renewables-based solutions is, therefore, central to the achievement of universal access and a key enabler for the attainment of the aspirations of the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 as well as achievement of the UN Agenda 2030 on sustainable development. The two organizations will collaborate to make this possible.”

The collaboration between the African Union and IRENA is in line with the ongoing AU programs, which include the Africa Bioenergy Policy Framework and Guidelines, Renewable Energy in African island states, Development of Small Hydropower Potential in Africa, Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility, and the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

The other initiatives include the Desert to Power, Coalition for Sustainable Energy Access, and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).

Previously, in a report, IRENA highlighted scenarios for the growth of renewables in West Africa’s power systems for critical national and regional targets. The report assesses the energy statistics across 15 countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

In March 2019, Mercom reported that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took the initiative to create a West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC) to increase the share of renewable energy in the energy mix of the region.