SUDAN: AfDB finances solar irrigation pump project in Sudan

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SUDAN: AfDB finances solar irrigation pump project in Sudan©Martien van Gaalen/Shutterstock

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has just released $21.7 million for the installation of solar pumps for irrigation in several states of Sudan.

The new Sudanese government has obtained a grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB). The pan-African financial institution has decided to finance a project to install solar pumps for irrigation in two states of this North African country. The loan of US$ 21.7 million will go to the states of West Kordofan and North Kordofan.

The AfDB-funded project will install 1,170 solar pumps on farms. The funding will also support the construction of pump maintenance and repair workshops, as well as the provision of equipment for a pump-testing laboratory. This is an important project in a country with a desert climate, where rainfall and surface water resources are scarce.

Yet, “agriculture is an important economic sector in Sudan. In 2016, nearly 40 percent of the country’s GDP was derived from agriculture. For this sector, and for the economy as a whole, the project offers significant and numerous benefits. With the planned phasing out of diesel pumps, farmers participating in the project will save money as they will no longer feel the need to buy diesel, which is scarce in rural areas,” the AfDB explains.

Thus, 75% of the cost of installing solar pumps on the plantations will be borne by the government, thanks to the AfDB loan. The remaining 25% will be payable in instalments over three years. However, such a project could lead to over-exploitation of the water table. For this reason, the AfDB has commissioned a groundwater study and sustainability assessment “which will serve as a basis for the development of future projects in Sudan”. In any case, the project is expected to boost plantation productivity in West and North Kordofan States.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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