Published: 11:42, November 15, 2023 | Updated: 11:48, November 15, 2023
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Collaborations on green energy transition urged
By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya

An engineer installs power transmission equipment at the 400KV Konza substation in Konza Technopolis, Kenya's smart city. (XIE SONGXIN / CHINA DAILY)

Chinese and African businesses and experts have called for enhanced collaborations among entrepreneurs, developers and manufacturers to accelerate the green energy transition on the continent.

Africa is one of the lowest contributors to climate change but it is also one of the worst places affected by the challenges; fortunately, the continent contains abundant clean energy resources and is capable of leapfrogging ahead in the global green energy transition, they said.

At the 2023 China-Africa Sustainable Investment Summit held last week in Kenya's capital Nairobi, delegates agreed that investment opportunities for clean energy abound and urged partners to increase efforts in leveraging each other's advantages. The event was sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, the Alliance of Chinese Business in Africa for Social Responsibilities and the Finance Center for South-South Cooperation.

Marco Lambertini, special envoy of WWF, said that China, with its vast experience in infrastructure development and renewable energy technologies, has a unique role to play in helping Africa realize sustainable energy solutions.

"Together, we can unlock the potential of renewable energy sources to provide Africa with clean, reliable, and sustainable energy," he said.

Lambertini said sustainable infrastructure investment should extend beyond the energy sector, adding that China's investments in Africa can offer significant support for the continent's holistic green development if led by a prioritization of environmental protection and biodiversity conservation.

Andy Gao, the chief executive of Omnivoltaic Energy Solutions, a B2B company specializing in offgrid electric products and technology, said China has a mature supply chain and a lot of cutting-edge technology that can bring to Africa.

He said there are opportunities to build mutual partnerships with local African companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises and startups, because they understand the market, the culture and know how to tap real demand.

Chinese companies offer mature supply chains and technology, hence they can leverage local partner feedback to improve products and the technology, he said.

"There are plenty of business opportunities, from the small solar home systems, to the medium-level solar TV solutions, solar street lights and cheaper automated solutions in the mobility sector," he said.

Gao expressed the need for suppliers to talk to end users directly to ensure they supply exactly what the market requires.

Zhang Lingxiu, chief executive of Roselake Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage tech companies across Africa and other emerging markets, said renewable energy, energy storage solutions, electric mobility and recycling economy present huge investment opportunities in Africa.

"Chinese enterprises riding on the supply chain, talent and technology transfer are in a good position to leverage what they have back home and to partner with co-founders or local partners in Africa to distribute or commercialize the technologies," he said.

Katakwala Mwandila, chief executive of Ndkay Zambia, a solar energy solutions provider, urged African enterprises to be more innovative by looking at the problems affecting the community, and find out how they can be part of the solution.