The African Development Bank announced this week that it has approved $324 million in loan support for two renewable energy projects in Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire that are expected to dramatically increase power supply in the African countries and keep their economic growth on track.
In line with the African Development Bank’s “New Deal on Energy for Africa” — an aspirational partnership-driven effort aiming to provide universal access to energy across Africa by 2025 — the loans are also part of the Bank’s top High 5 priority (see more below) on a continent that currently has at least 640 million with no access to energy. The two new renewable energy projects are a pair of solar power plants in North African country of Morocco, and a hydropower plant in the West African Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (known to some white speakers as the Ivory Coast).
The combined 800 megawatt (MW) of the NOORM I and NOORM II solar power plants in Morocco will account for $265 million of the Bank’s loan, contributing to a total cost for the projects of €2.048 billion ($2.41 billion). Upon completion, the solar plants will be connected to the national grid and will provide electricity for the equivalent of over 2 million Moroccans, or around 6% of the population.
The 44 MW Singrobo-Ahouaty hydropower project in Côte d’Ivoire will benefit from the remaining $59 million to fund the design, construction, and operation on the Bandama River, the country’s longest flowing river. The project will go a long way to meeting increasing energy demand which is expected to grow between 8 and 9% annually.
“These approvals demonstrate once again the Bank’s leadership on renewable energy in Africa,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank. “These projects will be essential to achieving the countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. I believe this sends a strong message ahead of the One Planet Summit on Climate [this week] in Paris.”
Already the investments made by the African Development Bank have this year contributed to 1.4 gigawatts (GW) worth of renewable energy generation capacity, covering a wide variety of projects, including:
- Off-grid and mini-grid projects, such as the approval of the second phase of the Green Mini-Grid Market Development Program to address barriers to scaling-up of private sector mini-grids in Africa and the launch of the Off-grid Revolution by mobilizing funding, pushing for regulatory reform, achieving economies of scale, addressing currency risks and convening governments to provide incentives for off-grid.
- Transmission and distribution projects including crucial regional interconnectors that are critical to evacuate power generated from renewable energy.
- Investments in private equity and debt funds, such as the Facility for Energy Inclusion (FEI) for which the Bank approved a US$ 100 million anchor investment to close funding gaps in the small-scale energy infrastructure sector and catalyze growth in last-mile energy access solutions.
- Project preparation support notably through the Bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which has approved 12 projects in 2017 that aim to bring additional 166 MW and leverage US$ 340 million.
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