The Africa that will be: G7 Energy

Published on Monday, 10 April 2017

On Sunday, 9 April, innovative energy solutions for development in Africa were discussed at the MAXXI Museum in Rome. On the continent, 600 million people live without electricity. The demand for energy will double by 2030.

On Sunday, 9 April, at the MAXXI Museum in Rome, the Enel Foundation, RES4Africa and Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) organised the event called “Africa 2030: Empowering the continent through innovation, green tech solutions and capacity building”, sponsored by the Ministry of Economic Development in the context of G7 Energy.

The conference, which included the participation of the Italian Minister of Economic Development, Carlo Calenda, focused on policies, ideas, technological solutions and possible regulatory pathways for a continent that is rich in resources, but still has limited access to energy. 

“In the Sub-Saharan region, about 600 million people still live without electricity. According to a study by the International Energy Agency, the demand for energy on the continent will double between now and 2030.”

Strengthening the supply of sustainable energy and the availability of energy from renewable sources is therefore the key to creating job opportunities, consolidating the growth of local economies in rural areas and contributing to enhancing energy security.

The conference included the participation of institutional representatives invited to G7 Energy G7 Energy, representatives from African countries, NGOs, multilateral organisations, businesses and academia.

Among the many topics on the agenda, there was the creation of “bottom-up” strategies and dynamics for the development of new business models and innovative local start-ups, the study of mechanisms of financial de-risking and the collaboration between the public and private sectors.

“Africa is extremely important to our expansion in the field of renewable energy”, said Francesco Venturini, CEO of Enel Green Power and member of the board of the Enel Foundation. “It’s a continent that is full of resources, with very high economic growth rates, but where the population sill has very limited access to energy. In this context, the mini-grids that us batteries and renewables can be a good solution and play a catalyst role in development. Africa is increasingly becoming a large laboratory of technological experimentation, which will provide an essential contribution to the future of this sector”.

“The event, promoted alongside the G7 Energy, was also an occasion to inaugurate three other initiatives, which will be open to the public free of charge from 11 to 17 April at the Corner D of the MAXXI Museum.”

The photo exhibition by the photojournalist Riccardo Venturi and by Lorenzo Colantoni, journalist and filmmaker, curated by Ilaria Prili and produced by the Akronos Association. The exhibit shows the past and the future of Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda, chosen as symbols of the liberation and rehabilitation of an entire continent.

Some innovative show-cases, including a real mini-grid: a system of energy generation from renewable sources designed to power areas that are isolated or not connected to the electrical grid, such as small islands, rural areas and emergency zones.

A practical workshop led by Liter of light, the NGO founded in 2011 that aims to spread an eco-sustainable lighting system throughout the world, educating populations in rural areas and developing a circular economy around renewable energy. It currently works in 26 countries and has already installed more than 500,000 lights, benefiting two million people.