World Bank approves US$22.5m additional financing for ROGEP to increase electricity access

WEST AFRICA – The Executive Directors of the World Bank have approved an additional financing of US$22.5 million for the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) to be implemented in 19 countries.

The funds, which come from the International Development Association (IDA), a subsidiary of the World Bank, and the Clean Technology Funds (CTF), are for the ROGEP, which will increase access to electricity in 19 countries in West and Central Africa.

ROGEP, launched in 2019, is undergoing a new development. The West African Development Bank (BOAD), which is piloting the project, has just received a grant of US$22.5 million.

This fund complements the US$217.2 million already approved (in April 2019) and provided by the IDA and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).

“This operation aims to support the development of the market for stand-alone solar systems in West and Central Africa, particularly in the Sahel countries.”

World Bank

“This operation aims to support the development of the market for stand-alone solar systems in West and Central Africa, particularly in the Sahel countries. It complements the operation approved in April 2019, financed with US$150 million from IDA and US$67.2 million from CTF,” the World Bank said.

The 19 Central and West African countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Cameroon, and Mauritania.

It is aimed at developing off-grid solar systems on the black continent. In each country, solar systems ranging from 20 to 350 kWp and other tailor-made solutions will be provided to the inhabitants.

“Off-grid solar systems have strong commercial potential in West and Central Africa, including Sahel countries, but the region is struggling to attract sufficient investment in these off-grid solutions,” said Deborah Wetzel, director of regional integration for sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa.

“This new funding will help meet the growing demand for reliable sources of electricity and create jobs for the millions of people currently without electricity or suffering from the irregular supply, as well as businesses and public institutions that can rely on modern stand-alone solar systems to improve living standards and expand economic activity.”

In Cameroon, this project will not only improve the electricity access rate (about 62% in 2017 according to World Bank figures cited by a report published by electric utility ENEO in 2018) but also contribute to the diversification of the country’s energy mix.

Indeed, currently, the country’s energy mix is dominated by hydroelectricity. officially, Hydroelectricity constitutes over 60% of the mix while solar, wind, and biomass that are renewable energy sources with several opportunities constitute barely 1% of the mix.               

“Rogep will also help decision-makers in the region to create a regional market for stand-alone solar systems, which is vital for combating poverty, particularly through the creation of jobs for millions of people,” said Rachid Benmessaoud, the director of regional integration coordination in West Africa at the launch of the project in 2019.

“The electrification project will also enable entrepreneurs to seize the opportunities of this new market by developing scalable business solutions.”

In West Africa and the Sahel, only 3% of households are connected to a stand-alone solar home system. In the same region, 208 million people are without electricity, according to the World Bank. This situation has worsened with the Covid-19 pandemic.

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