Developers of renewable energy projects based in the Global North import almost everything, from the technology used, to the skilled workforce to construct the plants. This risks excluding African enterprises and preventing value creation on site. Boniface Mabanza, a development expert and political activist for socio-economic justice in southern Africa, argues that African perspectives are neglected in the latest initiatives, which discover the African continent as a profitable investment location. He thinks that African countries need to reject the programs that promote private investments in Africa until they are able to regulate them. According to Mabanza, the current regulatory environment benefits foreign investors rather than leading to substantial transformation on the continent.
The current programs aimed to strengthen private investments in the renewable energy sector in Africa are at a deadlock. While funding for the much needed energy transition is urgently needed, the present programs do not seem to respond to local needs. We therefore need financing that seriously includes local actors and their views. Ownership and participation should not be just empty words on policy papers. The affected local population needs to be heard and must materially benefit from the investments.
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