The Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana, Olumide Olatunji, who led Access Bank Ghana to participate in the Climate Finance for Sustainable Energy Transition in Africa Conference at the University of Ghana, Legon, has stated that renewable energy on the continent will drive economic growth.
The Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana, during a panel discussion, said renewable energy in Africa holds immense potential for revolutionising the continent’s energy landscape, driving economic growth, and combating climate change. However, he stated that African countries face significant obstacles in attracting adequate financing for renewable energy projects.
Olumide Olatunji asserted that “limited access to capital is a significant challenge African countries face in this pursuit.” He added that factors such as the presence of political and economic instability across the continent created an environment of higher perceived risks, deterring potential investors.
The Managing Director of Access Bank Ghana indicated 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 to limited access to capital.
“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 towards the development of renewable energy initiatives on the continent, ultimately fostering a transition towards a greener and more sustainable future.”Olumide Olatunji
Avenue To Mobilise Funds
One avenue to mobilise funds, the MD 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.
Oluwaseun David-Akindele, Head of Corporate Communications, Access Bank Ghana, on his part, noted that Access Bank Plc issued the first Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), a certified corporate green bond, in Africa in 2019, raising US$41 million from the issuance. He meanwhile, disclosed that in 2022, the bank successfully closed its second green bond issuance, raising US$50 million. He noted that 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.
Oluwasenu underscored the importance of a collaboration between governments, financial institutions and development partners for effective mobilisation and allocation of climate finance. He also disclosed 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.
Oluwaseun assured that 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.
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.