SD Strategies, in its role of hosting the secretariat of the LEDS GP Energy Working Group, has supported the planning and inauguration of the African Mini Grids Community of Practice, in close cooperation with the Africa LEDS Partnership. Implementing partners also include SouthSouthNorth, KNUST, The US Department of Energy, NREL and CDKN.
The Africa LEDS Partnership (AfLP), in collaboration with the LEDS GP Energy Working Group (EWG), hosted the inaugural meeting for the new Africa Mini-grids Community of Practice (AMG-CoP) a day before the ninth Africa Carbon Forum commenced in Cotonou, Benin. The formation of the AMG-CoP is in response to the AfLP membership identifying mini-grid systems as a priority action area for the design of low-emissions development strategies.
Mini-grids present one of the most economical opportunities to achieving universal access to electricity. However, there are several multifaceted challenges to unlocking and catalysing investment into commercial and small scale mini-grids, most notably developing an enabling regulatory environment.
The AMG-CoP has been conceptualised 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 mini-grid 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 mini-grid development.
The EWG 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 mini-grids to their respective countries and national priorities, and formed a close-knit group of peers that will build on this relationship moving forward.
The AMG-CoP will convene for the second time at the AfLP Annual Event, and interested parties, including State and non-State actors, are encouraged to contact the AfLP Secretariat for further information on how to get involved.