Assana Alio, Country Representative for the Global Green Growth Institute, Senegal.
Energy Capital & Power spoke with Assana Alio, Country Representative for the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in Senegal, about the decarbonization of industry and the intersectionality of energy within sustainable development dialogues.
Please tell us what the Global Green Growth Institute is and its goals?
GGGI is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization launched in 2012 at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development with the mandate to accelerate the global transition to green growth – an environmentally sustainable and socially inclusive model. GGGI has operations in forty-three countries including Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu with our staff embedded in government institutions to help accelerate the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In 2021, GGGI supported its members to mobilize over $5 billion in green and climate finance, contributing to climate mitigation and adaptation and creating green jobs and inclusive economies. As of 2019, we are also proud partners of the Climate Bonds Initiative, utilizing carbon markets to accelerate climate adaptation and mitigation globally.
Senegal joined GGGI as a member in 2014, and since then we have worked tirelessly to mobilize some of the $50 billion investment urgently required in sub-Saharan Africa to achieve the SDGs through green bonds, carbon trading and project preparation including green hydrogen and nature-based solutions.
GGGI’s work aligns with the Emerging Senegal Plan. Could you please speak more to this?
The Emerging Senegal Plan (ESP) came about in 2014, thanks to H.E., President Macky Sall, as a robust national sustainable development framework. In collaboration with the Ministry, we have designed a green arm to the plan known as PSE Vert covering six key sectors: agriculture, energy, forestry, water and sanitation, housing and construction. Our ambition is to contribute to the national target of an 8.76% greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction by 2025 and a 38.5% GHG emissions reduction in the energy sector under the same timeframe. These initiatives and others are graciously sponsored by the Qatar Fund for Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, GiZ, the MAVA Foundation and the Senegalese Environment Ministry.
Would you say the energy sector intersects with these other fields in achieving green economies and how?
Energy forms the backbone of all other sectors, even agriculture. One recent project of ours is using solar power to drive climate-resilient agriculture in the Senegal River Delta. Unfortunately, the price of power in the country remains high and this electricity consumption for irrigation of rice fields represents on average 20-30% of yearly expenses for farmers. So our project is piloting the solarization of grid-connected pumping stations and climate-smart agricultural practices – a cheaper and greener solution to the water-climate-energy-food nexus in this nation. While we’re starting small initially, this kind of power intervention could be a game changer for the nation, which is the fourth highest global rice consumer per capita.
How could investment support this shift to decarbonization for the region?
Green energy projects are designed and submitted to financiers with the support of GGGI. The Renewables and Energy Efficiency Fund (REEF) for Senegal is an innovative national financing vehicle designed by GGGI in collaboration with AfDB and FONSIS aiming at accelerating the development of such projects. Data-driven knowledge is crucial to this kind of smart investment as well. We’ve produced reports on Senegal’s solar irrigation landscape and have tracked implementation of green transport infrastructure as well through the new fleet of electric buses and the TGV fast train. Recently, we’ve completed feasibility studies for greening several hundred buildings ranging from public schools to hospitals and government buildings as well using mixed energy solutions including grid and solar power. But our greatest current focus is on pushing for carbon trading under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Senegal’s national power company, Senelec, has experimented with this but implementation at the national level will provide tremendous gains in bargaining power and higher rates of return.
On energy and climate policy, could you please elaborate on Senegal’s progress?
Senegal is on a strong path towards sustainability and GGGI is guiding and helping it to develop its Green Growth Strategy and to transform eight key urban centers into green cities – namely, Kolda, Fatick, Touba, Tivouane, Mboro, Kaolack, Diaobe and Dahra.
We have passed four policies as of last year with two pending – clean air and transport as well as e-waste management – and with each new policy passed and implemented, climate change and going green looks increasingly feasible and economically advantageous for all sectors, particularly energy. I hope with the upcoming MSGBC Oil, Gas and Power Conference to see many more policies emerge from the fruitful discussions. At GGGI, we believe that together we can build a greener more resilient economy for Senegal.