Uganda must increase investment in developing its renewable energy and attract greater support of the private sector and international financial institutions if it is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. This was revealed by development partners during clean energy conference and expo held at Munyonyo speke resort.
The country should also control, exploit, and transform its enormous mineral resources locally in order to generate the financial resources needed for its development, urged the experts, mostly from the European Union and its member states
The meeting’s was held under the theme, Strategies for Strengthening Uganda’s Renewable Energy Policy Framework and Technological Advancements.
Speaking on a panel, Ms Caroline Adriaensen, the Head of Cooperation of the European Union said renewable energy gives Uganda opportunities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
She 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.
Participants noted that Uganda has made considerable progress in energy transition despite the challenges. Pointing to the scale of the challenges still ahead, Maria Hakansson, the Swedish ambassador to Uganda Renewable energy has the potential to provide electricity to the millions of Ugandans currently deprived of it, create jobs, and stimulate industrialisation.
“Every dollar invested in renewable energies will yield an additional $0.93, and the deployment of renewable energies will progressively lead to lower costs, unlike fossil fuels,” she said.
In addition to solar energy, Uganda’s renewable assets include wind power, biomass, hydroelectricity, and minerals such as lithium, graphite, and cobalt, which are needed for renewable energy technologies including the production of solar panels and batteries for electric vehicles.
A key theme of the discussions was the need for the country to take better advantage of its immense mining resources for sustainable development.
To boost the development of renewable energy resources, the country must have a clear vision and draw up laws distinct from those applied to fossil fuels.
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. He emphasized the need to construct local solar mini-grids, enhance specialized technicians’ skills, and conduct comprehensive awareness campaigns targeting both domestic and commercial users.
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 sector.
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.