Tanzania’s US$18 billion renewable energy ambition


COP27 Egypt will go down in history as the conference that saw Tanzania’s renewable energy ambition cast before the world.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan presented the energy transition plan encompassing other southern African countries as it maximizes electricity generation without harming the climate.

Tanzania’s renewable energy update transpired during the high-level side event at the ongoing COP27 Egypt in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt. President Samia presented a US$18 billion plan to build renewable power generation.

  • Climate finance has been a challenge over the past COP meetings where developed economies failed to deliver.
  • COP27 is considered an “African COP” as it happens in Africa and gives the region the opportunity to draw tangible solutions.
  • Tanzania is part of the Southern African Power Pool or SAPP, which has projects including new transmission lines across Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Congo.

Tanzania is now executing several energy projects, including the East African Crude Pipe Line Project (EACOP), which brought several international attention fighting its realization.

The widely followed meeting is occurring in the continent for the fifth time and attracting thousands of participants engaging in serious conversations that might lead to the realization of climate targets.

READ: COP27: Africa is not holding its breath waiting for funding

The 27th meeting of parties calls for moving from negotiations (which occurred in COP26) and “planning for implementation” for all these promises and pledges made (United Nations -UN).

As Samia presents Tanzania’s renewable energy ambitious deal on behalf of a dozen southern African nations – the pressure lies upon the developed economies to jump in and support the common cause.

COP27 Egypt renewable energy ambitious deals

The pressure to deliver tangible results is high as COP26 saw a slow output of expected targets. The COP27, which is taking place in a continent that faces many complications from climate change with fewer mitigation resources, requires a clear focus on seeking real-time solutions.

The talks are dubbed “African COP” to embody the essence of achieving tangible solutions for countries facing adverse impacts of climate change. COP27 Egypt is yet another opportunity for Africa to find options out of another challenge sucking life out of progress.

“Many African countries are reeling from more immediate problems or are in the thick of various crises. From corruption to famine, from the civil war to failing infrastructure, there is no shortage of challenges pushing the reckoning with climate change onto the back burner,” DW publication noted.

In terms of climate finance –not much has been done, and COP27 Egypt is another door to hold responsible parties accountable on our ground thus the need to present Tanzania’s renewable energy ambitions.

Africa only receives 5.5 per cent of climate financing as it is responsible for generating less than 3 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions (DW). Egypt (COP 27 host), which is also highly vulnerable to climate change as the food supply is in danger, must milk more tangible solutions on the latter from “African COP”.

READ: In focus: Climate finance and its impact on Africa

On that note, a critical issue on the table is rich countries’ weak commitments and actions as they fail to deliver a US$100 billion a year pledge for climate change funding (Euronews). This delay means Tanzania’s renewable energy plans and ambitions have to be pushed further into the future.

“For the next 20 years, we need about US$100 billion of investment in Africa for adaptation,” said Makhtar Diop, the managing director of the international finance corporation.

The latter brings another number to the world’s attention – with US$5 billion a year (for the next 20 years), the region would be in a new stage in mitigating climate change in Africa and making a severe difference.

Further, the African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwunmi Adesina told DW that governments need up to US$1.6 trillion during this decade to implement the continent’s commitments to the Paris Agreement on climate change which is the case with Tanzania’s renewable energy.

Renewable energy deal

President Samia’s move comes at the right time—as Africa seeks every opportunity to quench the electricity. The World Bank noted that at least 263 million people in the region would be left without electricity in ten years.

Suluhu Hassan does not only present the idea for support but also a symbol of commitment towards the common goal of sustainable energy production but for the sustenance of slean energy generation as envisioned by Tanzania’s renewable energy plans.

Although over the past COP meetings, climate finance has taken a backseat, and only a fraction of financial support on renewable energy has been received—only 1 per cent out of the total global deal made last year, according to information from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The latter is expounded more by Tanzania’s energy minister, who insisted on tapping the transition opportunity.

“It’s a very timely occasion at this COP to talk about infusing renewables” into the Southern African Power Pool, Makamba said. “You want us to transition? This is the opportunity.”

Further, the situation in the southern part of Africa is somewhat ready for the transition as energy demands call for a strategic solution like Tanzania’s renewable energy deal.

“South Africa, the continent’s most industrialized nation and mainly depends on coal for power, is working on a US$8.5 billion climate-finance deal to transition from the dirty fuel. The government has proposed to spend 90 per cent of the funding offered by wealthy nations on replacing the plants with renewable generation,” Bloomberg News noted.

Tanzania is part of the Southern African Power Pool or SAPP, which is a regional grid started in 1995 with projects including new transmission lines across Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Congo. Tanzania’s renewable energy plans are a boost to this pool.

According to Minister Makamba, about 60 per cent of the power in the Southern Africa Power Pool is generated by coal. Samia is leading the nations to encourage investment to boost renewable energy generation and expand the transmission network by 2,500 kilometres (1,553 miles).

COP27 Egypt is expected to bring somewhat tangible solutions for the continent of Africa as renewable energy solutions stand to cut carbon emissions by 27 per cent as President Samia highlighted in Tanzania’s renewable energy plans.

READ: Why Africa wants US$1.3 trillion in climate financing

Padili Mikomangwa is an environmentalist based in Tanzania. . He is passionate about helping communities be aware of critical issues cutting across, environmental economics and natural resources management. He holds a bachelors degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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