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Wood Mackenzie’s report says Sub-Saharan Africa needs $350 billion investment for improved electricity



A new report by Wood Mackenzie Ltd says Sub-Saharan Africa would need an investment of $350 billion between now and 2030, to be able to improve electricity generation/distribution and potentially solve the region’s long-standing electricity access problem.

The report, titled “Utility evolution in Africa to reshape global electricity demandwas released on Thursday (17th March) by the UK-based energy and consultancy group.

“These investment opportunities work around the fiscal and operational bottlenecks posed by some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s state utilities. Service providers are going straight to the bankable segments of residential, commercial, and industrial electricity demand, typically through distributed, renewable, off-grid solutions where the public utility does not feature.” The report says.

Wood Mackenzie Ltd is a global research and consultancy firm with over 50 years of practice. Wood Mackenzie partners organisations and governments to inspire better decision-making with a focus on oil, gas & LNG, power & renewables, chemicals, and metals & mining sector teams located around the world.

According to research, the number of people in the region with access to electricity has grown dramatically over the past decade, but about 600 million remain without power. To meet a United Nations goal of universal access by 2030, further progress is needed not only in grid link-ups but in off-grid systems using sources such as solar energy.

United Nations says “The number of people without access to electricity fell to around 1 billion in 2016 from 1.7 billion in 2000. The number of people gaining access to electricity each year is accelerating, thanks to strong successes in some countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, and Tanzania. Grid electrification has been the source of almost all energy access gained since 2000 and is likely to remain the most favourable option for many households, especially in more densely populated areas”

But Sub-Saharan Africa has been bedevilled with cases of grid collapse. Just last week in Nigeria, distribution companies announced the collapse of the country’s national grid amidst a nationwide blackout said “We would like to inform you of another system collapse on the National Grid which occurred at 5:10 pm today. We are monitoring the situation and will continue to provide updates.”

The electricity situation in Sub-Saharan Africa has been epileptic with Nigeria leading the race. Power in Nigeria has been in its worst moment since the past months as generation capacity dropped to 2,000 megawatts with about 14 power plants shutting down. Nigeria’s centralized electricity model have not yielded much for the West African country.

 “Decentralized, bottom-up solar-and-storage grids could not only reshape Africa’s energy future but carry important lessons for the next generation of thinking on utility business models globally, Benjamin Attia, an analyst at WoodMac, said

Electricity demand in Sub-Saharan Africa has doubled over the past 15 years and is expected to increase nearly eight-fold by 2050. The report by Wood Mackenzie said the growing demand is driven by these three fundamental-urbanization trends: population growth, rapid urbanisation, and structural economic transformation.

The report further attributed Africa’s long-standing electricity access problem to massive underinvestment in the region’s electricity infrastructure. It said with the right investments, Sub-Saharan Africa could potentially change the trajectory of electricity demand and supply, not only within the region but globally.

Now, the interesting part is that the declining costs of renewable energy, coupled with innovative business models, could make it easier to bridge the investment gap and provide reliable and affordable energy access across the region.





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South Africa’s crypto firm VALR gets licence to operate as asset service provider



South African leading cryptocurrency exchange trading firm, VALR, has been granted both Category I and Category II licence by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) of South Africa to function as a Crypto Asset Service Provider (CASP).

VALR, which was established in 2018, is a digital asset platform that allows customers to buy, sell, store and transfer Bitcoin and 60 other cryptocurrencies, making it the widest selection of any platform in Africa.

Farzam Ehsani, co-founder and CEO of VALR, who made the announcement in a statement on Tuesday, said it came on the heels of recently obtained approval to offer crypto services in Europe, and another operating license in Dubai.

“VALR has now been licensed as a CASP by the FSCA, making it one of the first crypto asset platforms to receive regulatory approval in both categories in South Africa,” the statement said.

“VALR serves over 1,000 corporate and institutional clients and more than half a million traders worldwide.

“The South African regulatory authority has established a regulatory framework for CASPs, a sector encompassing crypto asset exchanges, wallet providers, custodians and other providers of financial services in respect of crypto assets.

“By licensing and regulating these entities, the country aims to foster trust, protect investors and consumers, and promote sustainable growth within the crypto industry.

“Obtaining the CASP license from the FSCA is a monumental achievement for VALR. Over the past six years, we have actively collaborated with the South African regulators who have now pioneered a regulatory regime, allowing innovation to flourish while protecting the public interest.

“Our license underscores our unwavering dedication to compliance, security, and providing a trustworthy platform for the crypto community.

“We welcome this regulatory milestone for South Africa and applaud the regulators for taking this important step for the nation,” said Ehsani.

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Sustainable Energy for All signs grant agreements with 19 clean energy developers in Nigeria



Global sustainable energy ornaisation, the
Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), has announced signing of grant agreements with 19 Nigerian clean energy developers under its Results-Based Financing (RBF) multi-donor fund.

The agreement, which has the endorsement of Universal Energy Facility (UEF) and Stand-Alone Solar for Productive Use (SSPU) programme, will see the deployment of high-capacity solar and battery storage systems to businesses and institutions across Nigeria.

Interim Chief Executive Officer, Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), Joseph Nganga, who made the announcement, said the systems are expected to be fully installed and operational before the end of this year.

“This marks a significant step forward in our shared vision for a sustainable future. By signing these grant agreements, the UEF is truly making a difference by empowering clean energy developers to bring their innovative solutions to life,” Nganga said.

“I’m incredibly proud of the UEF’s work and excited to see the positive impact these projects will have on many lives.”

He further noted that reliable clean electricity for homes, SMEs, and institutions, will go a long way to transform daily life of users and the society.

“Electricity stays on, harmful petrol and diesel generator sets will be removed, which reduces indoor air pollution and CO2 emissions, equipment runs smoothly, and essential services like healthcare and education can function effectively. This unlocks economic opportunities and improves overall well-being,” he said.

“I am proud of the work we have all done to enable a better environment for the private sector to grow within the energy sector.”

Managing Director of Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency, Abba Aliyu, who also spoke on the agreements, said the SSPU systems are game-changers.

“The companies signing the grant agreements are a testament to the policies that have been put in place and capacity building efforts made in the past decade to build the sector.

“These solar power systems provide a reliable source of electricity, unlocking a range of socio-economic benefits.

“This significant expansion builds upon the success of the UEF’s initial launch of the SSPU programme in February 2023 when 10 developers received grants to deploy SSPU units in underserved or unserved communities.

“So far, over 1,600 systems have been installed, serving over 1,200 businesses and institutions such as health and educational facilities.”

The UEF has achieved significant progress over the past year, not only in Nigeria but also in Benin Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, and Sierra Leone, with thousands of Africans benefiting from this facility.

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