Austrian expertise in renewable energy could benefit Africa, says African Development Bank’s Vice President Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade

Austrian expertise in renewable energy could benefit Africa, says African Development Bank’s Vice President Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 20 March 2024, /African Media Agency/-The African Development Bank Group’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade has said as Africa develops its renewable energy sector, it can benefit from the expertise of Austria—a country largely powered from renewable sources.

“Austria is 80% powered by renewable energy. The expertise of Austrian companies is extremely valuable for Africa which has abundant solar, hydro, wind and geothermal sources of energy,” VP Akin-Olugbade told Austrian members of parliament during a meeting Monday evening at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.

Africa has an almost unlimited potential of solar capacity (11 TW), 350 gigawatts of hydro, 110 gigawatts of wind and 15 gigawatts of geothermal.

The MPs, Hermann Brückl and Sibylle Hamann, and their delegation from the Austrian Parliament, were on a tour of Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. On clean energy, they heard how the Bank’s $20 billion Desert to Power initiative is working to generate 10 000 megawatts of solar power for 250 million people across 11 countries in the Sahel region including Burkina Faso.

Accompanied by Austria’s Ambassador to Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal Ursula Fahringer, the parliamentarians were also briefed about the Bank’s work in the agriculture sector especially the introduction of special agro-industrial processing zones (SAPZs), industrialization, waste management in Abidjan, water and sanitation and the effects of insecurity in particularly the Sahel region.

Akin-Olugbade thanked Austria for its continued support for the Bank and its concessional window, the African Development Fund, as well as to various trust funds and initiatives.

Austria which joined the Bank in 1983, has participated in all General Capital Increases for the Bank and the replenishment of the African Development Fund. During the 16th replenishment of the Fund in December 2022, Austria contributed Euros 123 million (about $135 million), an increase of 12.6% over the previous replenishment More than $8.9 billion was mobilised during the 16th replenishment, the largest in the history of the Fund.

The African Development Fund has in past five years connected 15.5 million people to electricity, supported 74 million with improved agriculture, built or rehabilitated nearly 9,000 kilometres of roads. It has enabled 50 million people to gain access to transport and allowed 42 million people to access better water and sanitation services.

The Centre for Global Development ranked ADF the second amongst 49 bilateral and multilateral development agencies for the quality of its assistance.

Ambassador Ursula said Austria has a strong economic interest in Côte d’Ivoire and “that is the reason it is sending regular economic missions to Côte d’Ivoire. Another mission is expected in June.”

The meeting was attended by the Bank Group’s Executive Director for Austria, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Argentina Takaaki Nomoto.

VP Akin-Olugbade was accompanied by several senior Bank managers including the Deputy Director General for the West Region Joseph Ribeiro, the Senior Director, Strategy and Operational Policies Department Caroline Kende-Robb, the Bank’s Treasurer Omar Sefiani, the Director and Special Advisor in the President’s Cabinet Gauthier Boulard, Yvette Glele-Ahanhanzo, Director for Portfolio Monitoring and Delivery, and the Director for Strategy & Delivery in the President’s Cabinet Josiah Maxmillan Bankole Jarett.

Distributed byAfrican Media Agency on behalf of African Development Bank

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