President Paul Kagame has commended India and France’s leadership on solar energy, saying that the two nations illustrated their commitment, “ever since the alliance was proposed at the Paris Climate Summit, including the commitment of significant financial resources and credits from which Africa stands to benefit.”
He thanked India’s PM Narendra Modi and France’s President Emmanuel Macron for “the leadership they have provided and will continue to provide to this initiative.”
Kagame made the remarks on Sunday at the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Founding Summit in New Delhi.
He said that, “The sunniest countries on Earth should not lack for energy.”
President Kagame believes that it is an “unacceptable irony” that sunniest countries have no energy. “It is fitting that more than half of countries that have signed and ratified the International Solar Alliance treaty are African.”
Solar power is part of the answer to climate change, he said. “To speed adoption and get environmental benefits, it has to be as reliable and affordable as other energy sources. We’re not just protecting the environment; we’re protecting people & their well-being.”
To meet the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 targets, tremendous expansion in energy production is required in almost every African country.
The International Solar Alliance’s twin mission of facilitating technology transfer and innovative financing is timely, Kagame added.
He said advances in solar energy production must be matched by the development of batteries capable of storing it and smart grids to distribute it to customers.
In Rwanda, Kagame said, an 8.5MW solar power plant in Rwamagana has already helped to stabilise daytime power supply in Eastern Province. The facility has also demonstrated that we can do much more.
In his view, the one trillion dollars needed for solar investments globally in the coming years will obviously not come from governments alone. Public-private partnership is required.
“The International Solar Alliance’s proposed tools to mitigate credit risk send an important signal to the market that solar energy is a viable business,” he said.
Notably though, Kagame said warned that, “Solar power will not address all of Africa’s energy needs, but it will continue to grow in importance as part of our continent’s energy mix.”
“It’s important that we continue to work together through this new institution and beyond, to put our collective resources and knowledge at the disposal of our planet’s future.”
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on 30 November 2015 by Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.
The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.
PM Modi and former French President Francois Holldande jointly laid the foundation stone of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Haryana on January 25, 2016 and became a legal entity on December 6, 2017, 30 days after the 15th ratification instrument was deposited.
The ISA is considered as a potent tool for mutual cooperation among the member countries for mutual gains through enhances solar energy utilization.
121 countries falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn qualify to be members of the ISA. To date, 58 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA, while 26 countries have ratified it.
Meanwhile, Kagame met several leaders on the sidelines of the summit.