MOROCCO: Ongoing discussions with AfDB on implementing “Desert to Power”

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MOROCCO: Ongoing discussions with AfDB on implementing “Desert to Power”© Syda Productions /Shutterstock

The African Development Bank is seeking Morocco's support for the implementation of the "Desert to Power" programme. An initiative that will provide solar energy to 250 million people in the Sahel.

“Morocco has become a key player in the economic integration of the African continent”. It is with this in mind that Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, expressed his desire to collaborate with the Cherifian Kingdom in the implementation of the “Desert to Power” programme. It was on the sidelines of the 4th Annual General Meeting of Shareholders of the Pan-African Investment Platform Africa50, which ended on Wednesday, July 10 2019 in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.

The collaboration would allow Morocco to put its experience in the green energy sector at the service of the African continent. The “Desert to Power” operation would lead to the establishment of a “New deal for energy in Africa”. This AfDB programme, launched in 2017, aims to achieve universal access to energy throughout the continent by 2025. In particular, it will result in the installation of 10 GW of electricity from green energy.

As Akinwumi Adésina also pointed out, several projects are in the pipeline between Morocco and the AfDB, mainly in the infrastructure, governance and financial market integration domains. In 2016, Morocco inaugurated the Ouarzazate power plant located in the middle of the desert. At the time, it was the largest solar power plant in the world. The country’s commitment to promoting wind and solar energy are key factors that have convinced the AfDB to turn to it to help it implement the “Desert to Power” project. A letter of intent to cooperate had already been signed to this effect on the 7th of November 2018 between the AfDB and the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen)

The desert becomes an opportunity

The AfDB, through the “Desert to Power” programme, would like to use the solar potential of the Sahel countries to increase electricity production. AfDB estimates show that 64% of the Sahel population is without electricity. Yet the continent is twice as sunny as Europe. With the implementation of this initiative, more than 90 million Africans would have access to electricity for the first time ever. The “Desert to Power” project seems to be timely, at a moment when the energy deficit is estimated to cost between 2 to 4% of Africa’s annual GDP.

Luchelle Feukeng

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