Past Event

China and Global Development Seminar Series

China-Africa cooperation on green energy transition: Potentials and barriers: African perspectives

17 November 2020 12:00–13:30

This webinar, part of the China and Global Development Seminar Series, is delivered by the IDS China Hubthe Centre for Rising Powers, and the China Global Development Knowledge Network, in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council. This webinar is part of a webinar/seminar series funded by the UK Anchor Institution for China International Development Research Collaboration project.

Webinar 2 of 2: China’s role in Africa’s clean energy tran

sition: The African perspectives


Details of webinar 1: The Chinese perspectives can be found here.

China is the largest bilateral partner in Africa to develop energy infrastructure projects. According to the International Energy Agency, 30 per cent of power generation capacity installed between 2010 and 2015 is backed by Chinese contractors and finance. By 2020, over 10 per cent of African power generation capacity will be developed by Chinese companies. It is therefore no exaggeration to say that China-Africa cooperation on energy sector will significantly shape Africa’s energy development pathway. However, among over 200 ongoing Chinese backed projects in the energy sector across Africa, non-hydro renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy projects, are currently playing a relatively small role, with less than 4 per cent of all projects. This presents a sharp contrast to China’s significant domestic wind and solar capacity built over the past decade. What are the explanations and what barriers can be noted both within Chinese and African institutions to scaling up wind and solar energy activities?

This second session addresses this and related questions. Speakers are drawn from different professional backgrounds – researchers, regulators, financiers and/or business practitioners. Four presentations will be given, each for approx. 15 minutes, followed by a 30 minutes plenary discussion.

Sessions and slides

1) Chinese footprint in Africa’s renewable energy sector – by Dr Frangton Chiyemura, Open University, UK.


2) Chinese-financed power generation projects vs project finance IPPs – experiences from Sub-Saharan Africa – by Mr. Vianney Mutyab, Electricity Regulatory Authority of Uganda.


3) China-African relations in the renewable energy sector – Insights from Ethiopia – by Mr. Hilawe Lakew Tesema and Mr Getnet Tesfaye, Ethio Resource Group.


4) Sino-African relations in renewable energy generation – Insights from Kenya – by Dr Ulrich Elmer Hansen and Padmasai Lakshmi Bhamidipati, UNEP – DTU/Technical University of Denmark.


5) The session was summed up with the overall thoughts of Ms. Han CHEN from NRDC:


Han Chen manages NRDC’s work to promote a global energy transition and address climate change at the international level—especially in key countries like the United States, China, India, and Canada. Her work covers the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change negotiations and implementation of the Paris Agreement, global financing and deployment of renewables, and limits to the expansion of high-carbon energy sources. Prior to joining NRDC, Chen was a researcher at the Brookings Institution. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international studies from American University and a master’s degree in international development from Beijing’s Tsinghua University.



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