The World Bank Group announced on Monday that its Board had approved over $200 million in funding for off-grid electrification projects in West Africa and the Sahel region, designed around stand-alone solar systems.
Approval for the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) was granted by the Board of the World Bank Group on April 17 and will include $150 million in the form of credit and grants from the International Development Association (IDA) and another $74.7 million contingent recovery grant from the Clean Technology Fund to help the West Africa Development Bank and ECOWAS’ Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency expand off-grid access to electricity for populations in 19 countries in West Africa and the Sahel region.
The 19 African countries set to benefit from the funding include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
The specific objective of ROGEP is to increase electricity access to households, businesses, and public institutions in West Africa and the Sahel region using modern stand-alone solar systems. ROGEP is expected to benefit 1.7 million people who currently live without electricity connection or absent reliable electricity supply, as well as businesses and public institutions which will use the solar systems to improve their living standards and economic activities.
The funding seeks to make up for a lack of investments in off-grid renewable technologies in West Africa and the Sahel, two regions which would benefit greatly from such technologies. ROGEP seeks to maximize its financing for development by crowding in private investments to deploy innovative technologies, and by developing a regional market, it will also help to better address the important growth in demand for reliable electricity which will, in turn, help create jobs.
“So far, only 3 percent of households in West Africa and the Sahel are served by stand-alone solar home systems, and 208 million people in the sub-region do not have access to electricity,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, Coordinating Director for Regional Integration in West Africa. “The project seeks to assist regional policymakers to address barriers to create a regional market for stand-alone solar systems, which is essential to reduce energy poverty in the region, and entrepreneurs to take opportunities in this market through development of scalable business solutions. The new project will help adopt regional standards and regulations to establish a regional market with harmonized policies that will attract larger market players for the benefit of all participating countries.”
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