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Unlocking support for local clean energy companies: insights from Uganda

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), electrification through decentralized renewables-based solutions (particularly solar PV) has advanced significantly over the past decade. Going forward, this transition to clean energy has a significant potential in addressing integrated challenges including access to energy, job creation, skills development and local economic development (IRENA, 2019, 2020).

Maximizing local benefits from this clean energy transition is important for the host countries in order to achieve SDG 7 goals, to sustain a longer-term commitment to low-carbon development pathways (IRENA, 2018), and not least to recover in a post-COVID reality (SE4ALL 2020).

In Uganda, there are over 300 solar companies with a majority being locally owned (UOMA, 2020). Despite a high number of locally owned companies, there is little information available about these companies, their strategies and growth journeys, how they contribute to this sector and not least how they can be better supported. Much of the growth and economic value in the market is being captured by a relatively small number of internationally owned companies operating in SSA countries (Wood Mackenzie, 2020, UNEP-DTU, 2021).

According to GOGLA, in 2020 75% of the funds were raised by only 3 companies. International flows of finance, skills and technology are important to ensure growth of the solar industry, but equally important is ensuring that local solar companies have access to equal opportunities for growth and that their plight is understood and needs are addressed to strengthen the local economy.

 

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