The African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional lending arm of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, is providing a technical assistance grant for the implementation of the Desert to Power program in four countries in the eastern Sahel.
The Desert to Power initiative is expanding to the eastern Sahel. The African Development Bank (AfDB), which initiated the program, announced the release of $5.5 million in funding for four countries. This is a technical assistance grant that will enable Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan and Eritrea to implement this regional program.
The grant will support technical studies for regional solar parks and battery power storage near regional energy interconnectors, high-voltage cables that connect the power systems of neighbouring countries. The Desert to Power program is being implemented in the eastern Sahel through the East Africa Regional Energy Project.
The benefit to IGAD
The $5.5 million grant is being provided by the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional lending arm of the AfDB Group. The ADF will make the funding available through the Regional Public Goods window of its ADF-15 fund. According to the AfDB, the technical assistance will also strengthen the technical capacity of the implementing agency, as well as the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a trading bloc that includes countries in the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and Great Lakes region.
“This Desert to Power program is timely in this post-Covid-19 era, which has clearly emphasized the importance of reliable energy services. It also comes at a time when IGAD is planning to really implement its regional energy infrastructure master plan. This is an important step in closing the investment gap in renewable energy in the region, which will help reduce the adverse effects of climate change and diversify the energy mix,” said Workneh Gebeyehu, IGAD’s Executive Secretary.
Financial support from the GCF
The “Desert to Power” program aims to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in the Sahel, strengthening the transmission network, deploying off-grid solutions, improving the business climate, with the revitalization of national electricity companies. Through this program, 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. In addition to the AfDB, the “Desert to Power” initiative is funded by the United Nations (UN) Green Climate Fund (GCF).
Jean Marie Takouleu