Access Bank champions sustainable energy transition in Africa

Oluwaseun David-Akindele (right), Head-Corporate Communications, Access Bank Ghana; Ian Mashingaidze, Programme Director-ACBF (2nd right); Prof. Kenneth Amaeshi, Professor, School of Transnational Governance-EUI (middle); Victor Yaw Asante, CEO-FBN Bank Ghana (2nd left); and Chidozie Ezike, Head-Group ESG & Risk Management, UBA (far left) at the conference

Access Bank Ghana participated in the Climate Finance for Sustainable Energy transition in Africa Conference last week at the University of Ghana, Legon. The conference brought together seasoned professionals from across the sub-region, who shared insights into pitfalls, potentials and paradoxes of financing sustainable energy transitions in Africa.

Speaking on behalf of Managing Director-Access Bank Ghana, Olumide Olatunji, during a panel discussion, Oluwaseun David-Akindele – Head-Corporate Communications, Access Bank Ghana, said renewable energy in Africa holds immense potential for revolutionising the continent’s energy landscape, driving economic growth and combatting climate change; however, African countries face significant obstacles in attracting adequate financing for renewable energy projects.

Limited access to capital is a significant challenge African countries face in this pursuit. He noted that factors such as the presence of political and economic instability across the continent create an environment of higher perceived risks – thus deterring potential investors.

He also noted that currency volatility and exchange rate risks, inconsistent or inadequate policies and regulations related to renewable energy, among other factors, pose additional risks for investors and further contribute in limiting access to capital.

Mr. David-Akindele touched on some ways to address these problems. “Bridging the funding gap for sustainable energy projects in Africa requires a thoughtful exploration of various financial instruments and mechanisms. These tools serve to attract investments and channel capital toward the development of renewable energy initiatives on the continent, ultimately fostering a transition toward a greener and more sustainable future”.

One avenue to mobilise funds, he noted, is through the issuance of green bonds which offer a purposeful investment opportunity for individuals and institutions seeking to support renewable energy projects in Africa.

Mr. David-Akindele said Access Bank Plc issued the first Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI)-certified corporate green bond in Africa in 2019, raising US$41million from this issuance. Also, in 2022 the bank successfully closed its second green bond issuance – raising US$50million. The step-up puttable green bond was issued under the Access Bank US$1.5billion Global Medium-Term Note Programme, and is listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

In addition, Mr. David-Akindele alluded to the importance of a collaboration between governments, financial institutions and development partners for effective mobilisation and allocation of climate finance.

He revealed that in 2022 Access Bank Plc partnered the Lagos Business School (LBS) to fund their 350KW and 152KWh hybrid power solutions project through its Sustainable Use of Natural Resources and Energy Finance (SUNREF) facility. SUNREF is a green energy facility availed to Access Bank by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) to support Nigeria’s journey toward carbon emissions reduction and a cleaner environment.

In addition, the Lake Turkana Wind Power project in Kenya, the M-Kopa Solar project in East Africa, South Africa’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPPPP), the African Development Bank’s Desert to Power Initiative, the Bui Solar-Hydro Hybrid Plant in Ghana, and the Azura-Edo Independent Power Plant in Nigeria are all examples of Access Bank’s commitment to sustainable renewable energy.

Access Bank remains committed to financing renewable energy in Africa. The bank presently operates through more than 700 branches across three continents and service outlets in 18 countries, including the UAE, UK and France, and three representative offices in China, India and Lebanon.

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