Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Both have ambitious targets for developing their renewable energy production capacity.

The renewable and clean energy sectors are growing across sub-Saharan Africa. Although only two countries are highlighted here, the same trend is seen across most of the region. A growing middle class, isolation from traditional grid infrastructures, unreliable power supply and rapid urbanization mean that there is increasing demand beyond what the current power supply provides. Wisconsin’s authorized trade representative in the region can assist with market entry in over 25 markets, all of which are looking for clean and renewable energy to some degree.

Two markets in particular are worth a look:

  • Uganda is richly endowed with renewable resources for energy production and the provision of energy services. The total estimated potential is about 5,300 megawatts (MW). These resources remain largely unexploited due to perceptions of technical and financial risk. Hydropower (over 2,000 MW) and biomass (total standing biomass stock of 284.1 million tons, with potential sustainable biomass supply of 45 million tons) are considered to have the greatest potential for electricity generation. However, solar power has also received increasing attention from investors. Moreover, located in the East African Rift Valley, Uganda has potential for the production of geothermal energy. Wind speeds are generally low, so wind power potential is negligible. The goal of Uganda’s renewable energy policy has been to increase the use of modern renewable from below 5 percent in 2007 to 61 percent of total energy consumption by 2017.
  • The government of Rwanda has the goal of increasing access to electricity to 70 percent by promoting the use of renewable energy. Rwanda is now poised to become the first fully electrified country in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly due to solar energy. Based on the Rwanda Energy Policy Plan, the country plans to reach 70 percent access to electricity using differentiated grid and off-grid strategies by 2018. The target for grid access is 48 percent, and off-grid 22 percent. The plan calls for increasing electrical generation capacity to 563 MW by 2018. There are various investor opportunities with regard to solar energy, and the market in Rwanda is large. Biomass, which accounts for 85 percent of energy in the country, also provides opportunities for interested investors.