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AfDB invests $1bn to upgrade 12 hydropower plants

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African Development Bank (AfDB) has invested US$1 billion to upgrade 12 hydropower plants.

The latest report by the International Hydropower Association(IHA), shows that hydropower capacity in Africa grew this year by 2GW but access to finance and infrastructural inadequacies are inhibiting further progress across a continent that lacks access to clean, secure, affordable energy and water.

According to the report, 60 per cent of installed hydropower capacity in Africa is more than 20 years old, prompting African energy leaders to gather in Abuja this week to agree on strategies to bridge the gaps.

“Africa is poised to harness the power of its water resources to drive sustainable development and economic growth through a transformative clean energy transition.

“With only 10 per cent of the continent’s hydropower potential harnessed, accelerating hydropower development has never been more urgent,” it said.

The report also stated that 2023 saw nearly double the hydropower development from the previous year with 2GW installed across the continent.

The report also noted that the key countries that heavily contributed to the development are Nigeria (740MW), Uganda (408.2MW), Democratic Republic of Congo (381.7MW) and Tanzania (261.7MW), adding that public-private partnerships are facilitating the financing and development of major projects.

“Regional co-operation initiatives are gaining momentum, offering promising avenues for hydropower development. However, limited access to finance, volatility and governance issues inhibit further infrastructure development.

“Recent studies commissioned by the African Development Bank (AfDB) shows there is an urgent need for rehabilitating numerous hydropower plants across Africa and the AfDB is leading efforts to upgrade 12 hydropower plants with a US$1 billion investment,” it further explained.

The report shows that Africa has a significant opportunity for growth but urgently needs more global collaboration and investment.

“With significant solar power coming onto the African grids, it is imperative that Africa’s hydropower potential is realised to ensure that reliable electricity supply is balanced and readily available. The development of hydropower in Africa is not just about generating electricity; it’s about empowering communities, driving economic growth, and charting a sustainable path towards a clean energy future,” the report said.