Cotonou, Benin, October 4-5 – In collaboration with the West African Development Bank (BOAD), the UN Climate Technology Centre & Network (CTCN) completed the Green Hydrogen Capacity Building Workshop in Africa.
As part of a global series of capacity-building events, the Green Hydrogen Technology for System Transformation in Energy and Business & Industry Sectors: Africa was designed to enhance the knowledge of National Designated Entities (NDEs) in the field of green hydrogen technology and the necessary supportive infrastructure.
A two-day programme brought together about 30 participants from 16 countries in the region to delve into a wide array of subjects. The discussions ranged from the importance of green hydrogen within the African context, the exploration of current and future green hydrogen technologies and applications, to the critical factors required for advancing green hydrogen adoption.
Moreover, it helped in mapping the challenges for the green hydrogen uptake in Africa and globally, such as inadequate infrastructure, regulatory and standardization gaps, elevated overall expenses, and a shortage of renewable energy supply.
Speaking on behalf of the African Hydrogen Partnership – a key institution on the African continent with significant resources dedicated to hydrogen technologies and projects – Director Prof. Bamidele Adebisi noted that “embracing a long-term perspective in investing in green hydrogen infrastructure is not just an opportunity, but a necessity for sustainable energy transformation.”
Considering the widespread concerns among nations regarding the expense of green hydrogen infrastructure, he emphasized the imperative to “seek out proactive and sustainable solutions,” and summarized that such workshops “act as an open-mic platform for the identification, development, and implementation of such solutions.”
Echoing the same sentiments, Joyce Kabui, Africa Manager of the Green Hydrogen Organization and representing the African Green Hydrogen Alliance, emphasized the vital role of "cultivating collaboration to establish a sustainable enabling environment, thereby accelerating the development of green hydrogen projects in Africa."
Speaking on behalf of a government-led support platform, she indicated that “a concerted effort is required to establish supportive policies, attract investments, and build the necessary infrastructure while fostering international partnerships.”
Concluding she noted that “local capacity building and community engagement is crucial for long-term success and widespread adoption of green hydrogen technologies in the region.”
Split over two days, the first day began with a focus on the global and African green hydrogen landscape, exploring available and emerging technologies. It underscored the risks associated with postponing adoption until commercial availability, which might relegate countries to mere consumers rather than producers of this transformative technology.
The discussions also highlighted that the choice of technologies would depend on recognizing a country's strategic position within the green hydrogen value chain, taking into account whether a country has favorable production conditions or whether green hydrogen would be beneficial for diversifying the domestic energy portfolio (consumption).
The second day centered on the importance of national strategies and roadmaps with the objective of establishing a strong enabling environment for green hydrogen uptake. Examples from South Africa, Kenya, South Korea and ECOWAS were illustrated success stories at a local, national and regional level. Such strategic frameworks guide capacity building, financing, and the selection of specific value chain segments that align with a country's interests.
The concluding message from this workshop to participating countries was to now start internal conversations on national strategic priorities in terms of green hydrogen production and/or consumption, and from there on shape the next steps for ambitious green hydrogen adoption.
This Green Hydrogen Capacity Building Workshop in Africa is part of a series of capacity-building programmes on green hydrogen delivered by CTCN across three regions with a specific focus on priority areas of system integration and technology advancement for each region.