African ministers root for green hydrogen to hasten low-carbon growth

NAIROBI, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) — Sub-Saharan African countries are exploring production of green hydrogen to tackle the shortage of energy, said ministers participating in the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

The three-day summit wrapped up on Wednesday with the adoption of the Nairobi declaration in which leaders of African countries called for more investments in renewable energy to achieve green energy transition.

Kgosientsho Ramokgopa, minister in South Africa’s presidency responsible for electricity, said that Africa can leverage its vast renewable energy resources, technology and skilled manpower to produce green hydrogen for domestic consumption and export.

“By exploiting their untapped green hydrogen potential, African countries will decarbonize their economies and create jobs,” Ramokgopa said, adding that enactment of friendly regulations and policies is key to attracting investments in the continent’s nascent green hydrogen industry.

Statistics from Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance (AGHA), an industry lobby comprising members such as Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa, indicate that green hydrogen demand on the continent could reach 18 metric tons by 2050.

In addition, the AGHA said Africa could be well-placed to export 20 to 40 metric tons of green hydrogen and its derivatives by 2050, once the continent invests in low-cost production and transportation systems.

Africa has the potential to produce green hydrogen worth more than 1 trillion U.S. dollars annually by 2035, which would create 3.7 million jobs, according to a recent study conducted by the European Investment Bank, International Solar Alliance and the African Union.

Abdessalam Ould Mohamed Salah, minister of economy and sustainable development of Mauritania, said that green hydrogen will not only speed up the realization of net-zero targets in Africa but also lower the cost of manufacturing.

Alex Wachira, principal secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, noted that African countries that have developed ambitious green hydrogen development roadmaps have attracted capital from institutional investors to enable them to produce the carbon-free gas in bulk.

The launch of the green hydrogen strategy and roadmap for Kenya at the Africa Climate Summit reaffirmed the country’s commitment to becoming a hub for the production and export of clean gas, Wachira noted.

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