Fast-track energy transitions to win the race to zero, development partners tell Uganda

Head of Cooperation of the European Union – Ms Caroline Adriaensen

The European Union, in collaboration with Germany Cooperation (GiZ), has asked Uganda to expedite the wider adoption of renewable energy within the country. Both entities stand as leading development partners in Uganda’s renewable energy sector. Despite Uganda’s abundance of natural resources, supportive policy frameworks, and ambitious energy targets, its progress toward effective renewable energy utilization hasn’t matched its preparedness.

With a goal to achieve universal clean energy access by 2040 and connect at least 80% of the population to the grid, Uganda secured a substantial USD 638 million loan from the World Bank. This funding aims to implement the Electricity Connection Policy, envision ing over 1 million new grid connections.

Speaking at the National Renewable Energy Conference, Matthias Scheuer, the German ambassador to Uganda, commended the country’s positive steps toward the renewable energy transition, highlighting the increased usage of e-Boda Bodas. However, he stressed the urgency of accelerating this process. Scheuer emphasized the need to construct local solar mini-grids, enhance specialized technicians’ skills, and conduct comprehensive awareness campaigns targeting both domestic and commercial users.

Team Europe launched climate-friendly Boda Boda

He affirmed the commitment of the EU and GiZ to support Uganda in this transition through technological transfer and funding various renewable energy projects, aligning with their longstanding contributions across sectors. Caroline Andriaensen, Head of Cooperation of the EU, underscored the significance of political stability, a supportive policy framework, and an investor-friendly climate to bridge the investment gap in Uganda’s renewable sector.

Although Uganda shows progress in these aspects, there’s a call for further improvement, particularly in fostering investor confidence. To address these challenges, the EU initiated a committee to collaborate with Ugandan authorities on land, labor markets, capital movement, taxation, and the rule of law.

Brian Isabirye, the Commissioner for Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, acknowledged Uganda’s strides in creating an investment-friendly climate but highlighted a significant hurdle – the lack of essential data and knowledge.

Isabirye stressed the critical role of data in informing investor decisions and shaping policies, citing the absence of sufficient data hindering interventions that could financially benefit the country and expedite the transition to renewable energy.

The counsel from the EU and GiZ provides vital guidance for Uganda, emphasizing the need for accelerated infrastructure development, skills enhancement, and extensive awareness campaigns.

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