The Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP), in collaboration with the LEDS GP Energy Working Group, hosted the inaugural meeting for the new Africa Minigrids Community of Practice a day before the ninth Africa Carbon Forum in Cotonou, Benin. The formation of the community of practice is in response to the AfLP membership identifying minigrid systems as a priority action area for the design of low emission development strategies.
Minigrids present one of the most economical opportunities to achieving universal access to electricity. However, there are several multifaceted challenges to unlocking and catalyzing investment into commercial and small scale minigrids, most notably developing an enabling regulatory environment.
The Africa Minigrids Community of Practice has been conceptualized as a country-driven initiative, with the inaugural meeting serving as a starting point for countries to identify common challenges and barriers, agree on the priority areas for further development, and share lessons and strategies for addressing minigrid development and rural electrification. Key priorities identified at the meeting include governance and policy for an enabling regulatory environment, business models, and unlocking finance for developing minigrids.
The Energy Working Group and AfLP are acting as “co-pilots” and have designed a conceptual framework that provides guidance and flexibility to a country-driven, peer-to-peer learning and collaboration platform. The inauguration workshop saw ten African countries convene to discuss the pertinence of minigrids to their respective countries and national priorities, and form a close-knit group of peers that will build on this relationship moving forward.
The Africa Minigrids Community of Practice will convene for the second time at the AfLP Annual Event in October 2017, and interested parties, including State and non-State actors, are encouraged to contact the AfLP Secretariat for further information on how to get involved.