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Africa needs to unlock institutional investment in hydropower – IHA

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has called for the need for African countries to unlock investment in hydropower by removing restrictions around institutional funding from…

The International Hydropower Association (IHA) has called for the need for African countries to unlock investment in hydropower by removing restrictions around institutional funding from pension funds and open long-term funds to develop energy infrastructure to meet the needs in the continent.

This was disclosed at a press conference in Abuja on the sidelines of the 2024 Hydropower Africa Week co-hosted by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) and the mainstream Energy Solutions Ltd, the African Development Bank, the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and the Federal Ministry of Power.

Addressing the press, the CEO of Serengeti Energy and IHA board member, Anton-Louis Oliver, said: “Hydropower requires huge capital requirements, and getting the right kind of financing will lower the cost of energy.

“One of the biggest restrictions we are facing as a continent is that the best sources of financing are from institutional investors like the pension funds, but the regulations around pension funds restrict financing and investing in infrastructure projects like hydropower.”

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Also speaking, the President of the International Hydropower Association, Eddie Rich, said there were a series of activities taking place over the course of the week, including a high-level roundtable on Wednesday (today), with representatives from around a dozen African governments and from around the world, hydropower companies and international development banks.

He said: “The bulk of electricity provision in Sub-Saharan Africa comes from hydropower. Most of them are getting fairly old. We have got the responsibility to make sure that if we want to keep the light on, we look after our operating assets.”

He said despite countries adding 2 gigawatts of electricity through hydro in 2023, there still remained a large gap of citizens without power.

On his part, the Managing Director/CEO of Mainstream Energy Solutions Limited and Vice Chair of IHA, Engr Lamu Audu, said, “By fostering strategic partnerships and pioneering investment frameworks, we can unlock the necessary capital to realise Africa’s hydropower potential. We need to turn aspirations into action, propelling Africa towards a future powered by clean, sustainable energy.

“It is a rare event that gives us an opportunity as a continent and a nation to bring the issue of hydropower development to the centre stage.”