AFRICA: AFD and ADEME support ten off-grid electrification projects

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AFRICA: AFD and ADEME support ten off-grid electrification projects© think4photop/Shutterstock

The French Development Agency (AFD) and the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME) have recently selected ten off-grid electrification initiatives as part of a call for projects covering Africa. The winners will receive technical and financial support from the two French agencies.

The results of the call for projects “Innovative solutions for sustainable off-grid energy access” (SolInAE) are known. Launched in September 2019 by the French Development Agency (AFD) and the Agency for Ecological Transition, this initiative resulted in ten applications being selected. The call for projects concerned companies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with local partners in Africa.

The ten selected projects are mainly implemented in West and East Africa. The applicants propose solutions for the supply of electricity in rural areas through small off-grid solar power plants. One example is Solergie, a well-known Belgian company in Togo, which is involved in the implementation of the Cizo project. In this West African country, Solergie is developing smart solar nano-grids (shared modular solar systems, up to eight users each) for off-grid rural communities with a consume-to-own payment model (users become owners in proportion to their consumption), to provide clean and affordable energy to local families and micro-entrepreneurs.

Enhancing the value of agricultural products

Agriculture is a privileged sector in the initiative led by AFD and ADEME. The two French agencies have thus selected the project of the French association “Entrepreneurs du Monde” in partnership with two French companies and two Senegalese associations. In Senegal, these actors propose the deployment of solar photovoltaic systems to limit agricultural losses in the rural region of Matam (north-eastern Senegal). The project is based on efficient low-tech technologies for crop storage and conservation, as well as the installation of equipment for processing cereals during the off-season. The storage warehouses are managed by a Senegalese social enterprise.

The other beneficiary countries of the call for projects are Madagascar, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin and Guinea. According to AFD, the overall aim of the initiative is to highlight and support innovative proposals that generate sustainable economic activities with a high social impact to promote electrification, by meeting electricity needs, but also heat and cold production (for agriculture).

Financial support of €1.6 million

The Agency for Ecological Transition and AFD’s call for projects is a continuation of the first call for projects on the same theme which was launched in 2017 with the support of the French Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition. “This second call for projects confirms the great capacity to innovate of start-ups, SMEs (small and medium enterprises) or NGOs in the sector of off-grid energy access with a sustainable economic and social impact in Africa. It also demonstrates the usefulness of this type of financial support for this sector, which is characterised by projects that struggle to pass through more traditional windows,” explains Philippe Masset, Deputy Director Europe and International at Ademe.

The companies benefiting from the initiative will receive technical support, as well as a budget of 1.6 million euros for the development of their projects in rural areas.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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