Countries with smaller scale economies that may not have access to the capital required to build their own power generation infrastructure have had to rely on imported energy from their neighbours with large established power generation infrastructure and facilities.
This includes the likes of Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia, all of whom buy electricity from Eskom, and are also vulnerable to the vagaries of the power producer's load-shedding issues.
Welcoming investment into the development of renewable energy products, whether wind or solar PV based, could see these countries move towards being less dependent on neighbours that supply them with energy. In turn, energy would cost less, and the greenfields nature of such developments could mean that they would be designed optimally to meet the needs of local populations.
Namibia and Botswana are already collaborating on a potential 5,000MW solar PV project that includes financial partners such as the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and Power Africa from the US.
Known as Mega Solar, the project will be Southern Africa's largest solar generation project, and will contribute to reducing the region's reliance on fossil fuels and reducing its carbon footprint.
The project aims to produce five times Botswana's current energy consumption, allowing the country to shift from being an energy importer, to being an exporter of clean energy to the Southern African region.
Mega Solar is a great example of just how a collaborative approach between countries, international funding bodies, and support teams with a global view and an understanding of Africa's local markets, can achieve great results for governments and their people.
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