Mission to Ghana another important step in the right direction

17 Feb 2013

UNDP China undertook a mission to Ghana from 17-28 February with a team of Chinese technology and policy experts and a representative from Ministry of Science and Technology’s environment agency, ACCA21. In this new collaboration funded by the Danish Government UNDP China is to develop a project with Ghana on transferring renewable energy technologies from China. The planned support will focus on the modalities required to make the local absorption of new technologies effective, including removing barriers and building local capacities, know-how and best practices. The current initiative is a partnership between the Energy Commission in Ghana and UNDP Country Offices in China and Ghana.

The project is part of wider efforts to address the country’s need to widen energy access by developing off-grid community-based electrification, increasing the share of renewable energy, and promoting the productive uses of energy. In doing so, the project is indirectly supporting other socio-economic and environmental objectives, most notably poverty reduction through employment generation and supporting action on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Another focus of the project is to create an enabling environment in Ghana for absorbing new technology and in China for providing it. The project concepts are derived from priorities set by the two countries respectively and the full project will be based on local demands for assistance

That the approach envisaged for the implementation of the projects is innovative for China can perhaps be illustrated by a remark from the Economic Consul at the Chinese Embassy, stating that “This is an exciting project initiative that will be a positive change from the normal Chinese assistance, which all too often focuses on ‘hardware’.”

During the mission the consultancy teams (from Ghana and China) identified the key project components on which the future project will be centered. These include building institutional capacity for the national implementation of the Renewable Energy Law in Ghana, developing policy instruments to facilitate Technology Transfer in Ghana, improving the capacity for Technology Transfer within China to facilitate TT from China to Ghana and piloting different renewable energy solutions.

The mission also made it clear that UNDP has an important role to play in facilitating these types of partnerships by ensuring an alignment with national priorities and stronger national ownership through the local energy authorities. Initial indications are that the approach taken for this initiative has the potential to become a new and targeted modality for UNDP to work on South- South collaboration through its country offices in the global south.