Renewables deals dwarfed by oil and gas at UK-Africa Investment Summit


With pv magazine yesterday reporting on the deal signed by London-based off-grid solar supplier Bboxx to supply 10 million of its products in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a report today has indicated the scale of fossil fuel investments signed by British companies in Africa at the same summit.

Bboxx yesterday publicized a commitment signed by the Congolese government to bring electricity to 10% of its 100 million population by using the London company’s small scale solar home systems.

That memorandum of understanding was signed at this week’s U.K.-Africa Investment Summit in London, which left-of-center U.K. newspaper The Guardian today reported resulted in five oil and gas deals worth a total £2.1 billion ($2.75 billion).


By contrast, reported the newspaper, the summit only drove £161 million worth of renewable energy related agreements, including £80 million for solar-powered irrigation pumps for Uganda and £50 million towards a solar farm in Kenya.

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The Guardian claimed a request by the U.K.’s sole Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas, to find out which companies would be represented at the conference had been refused by the Department of Trade because of “commercial interests”.

The newspaper reported an enquiry lodged with the Department for International Trade about the energy investments signed at the summit prompted a response which instead cited the total number of deals across all sectors signed, enabling a spokesperson to state: “Less than one-third were in oil and gas.”

The non-energy deals signed included £170 million for new aircraft and airports and £224 million for a new gold mine in Kenya – commitments which will escalate carbon emissions – as well as £3.2 billion for two monorail lines in Cairo.

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