The third meeting of the African Mini-Grids Community of Practice (AMG-CoP) was held in Nairobi last month, on the sidelines of the African Carbon Forum. Bringing together 34 delegates from 14 countries, the meeting focused on the finance-related challenges of implementing mini-grids across Africa. Led by LEDS GP’s Finance Working Group, the programme concentrated on private sector engagement and the role of policy in accelerating investment. It also provided an opportunity for peer-to-peer exchange on a selection of themes that had emerged during the workshop discussions.
Key outcomes from the meeting were:
- An improved understanding by members of the challenges facing private sector investors in the financing of mini-grid projects.
- A deeper understanding of a variety of private finance tools that could be used to finance mini-grids in the region, including their strengths and weaknesses, and suitability within certain contexts.
- An agreed upon list of concrete actions arising from members, that builds upon the three focus areas identified during previous meetings. These actions are grouped into three sections: those that can be easily and quickly implemented in the near future with available resources, those that are manageable with current resources (human and financial) if managed efficiently and innovatively, and bigger projects that will require additional funding and longer time-frames for implementation.
- Opportunities for deep peer-to-peer learning exchange were discovered, in particular between Nigeria and Ghana.
- Commitment from Governments to communicate their participation with the AMG-CoP on a high-level.
- Enthusiasm for a second meeting in 2018 to be convened in Nigeria in collaboration with the Government of Nigeria, potentially including a high-level ministerial segment.
Looking forwards, a couple of key priorities were highlighted by those present. Firstly, a strong call came from members to foster African leadership and knowledge sharing on mini-grids through peer-to-peer collaboration. In response, the AfLP secretariat plans to facilitate study tours and exchange visits, as well as the creation of an online platform where resources and member information and expertise can be shared. Secondly, members agreed on the importance of strong political momentum for mini-grids as a key 21st century energy system for Africa. Looking ahead, CoP Members together with the AfLP secretariat and Finance Working Group will seek to support and facilitate public and private dialogue, as well as create opportunities for high-level political support of mini-grid implementation.