The African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional lending arm of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, is providing a US$6 million grant to the Desert to Power programme. The funding enables the launch of this solar-based electrification programme in the Sahel.
The Desert to Power programme is now on track. The launch of this solar electrification initiative in the Sahel has been made possible by a $6 million grant recently awarded by the African Development Bank (AfDB). The funds are allocated under the Regional Operations Envelope of the African Development Fund 15 (ADF-15).
The funds are earmarked for the West African Power Pool (WAPP). This institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will use the funding to conduct pre-feasibility studies for the construction of the Sahel Transmission Backbone, which will link regional solar parks in the five G5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Chad). Part of the grant will be allocated to the Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (Ecreee) to expand the coverage of decentralised (off-grid) energy systems.
Providing clean energy to 250 million Sahelians
Ecreee’s initiatives will be carried out within the framework of ECOWAS’ Regional Mini-Grid Programme. According to the AfDB, its grant will also reduce the risks associated with energy investments by preparing transmission infrastructure to link Sahelian countries and harness more electricity from solar power plants. These upgrades will pave the way for electricity trading in the regional market.
The Desert to Power programme was launched by the AfDB with the objective of accelerating the deployment of solar energy in the Sahel, strengthening the transmission grid, deploying off-grid solutions, improving the business climate, and revitalising national power companies. Through this programme, which covers 11 African countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan), the AfDB aims to provide solar energy to 250 million people living in the Sahel. The pan-African bank also aims to make the Sahel the largest solar energy production area with an installed capacity of 10,000 MWp.
Jean Marie Takouleu