The Board of the World Bank Group says it is providing over $200m to help increase access to electricity in West Africa and the Sahel Region.
It stated that it had approved the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project, which includes $150m in the form of credit and grant from the International Development Association and $74.7m contingent recovery grant from the Clean Technology Fund.
The facility, according to the World Bank, would help the West African Development Bank and ECOWAS’ Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency expand off-grid access to electricity for populations in 19 countries in West Africa and the Sahel region.
The countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The statement from the World Bank added, “The overall objective of ROGEP is to increase electricity access of households, businesses, and public institutions using modern stand-alone solar systems through a harmonised regional approach.
“The project is expected to benefit about 1.7 million people currently living without electricity connection or with unreliable supply, as well as businesses and public institutions who will use modern stand-alone solar systems to improve their living standards and economic activities.”
The Coordinating Director for Regional Integration in West Africa, Rachid Benmessaoud, said, “So far, only three per cent of households in West Africa and the Sahel are served by stand-alone solar home systems, and 208 million people in the sub-region do not have access to electricity.
“The project seeks to assist regional policymakers to address barriers to create a regional market for stand-alone solar systems, which is essential to reduce energy poverty in the region, and entrepreneurs to take opportunities in this market through development of scalable business solutions.”