Emerging Deal Could Deliver Solar to 250 Million in Sub-Saharan Africa
A new Desert to Power partnership between the African Development Bank, the Green Climate Fund, and the Casablanca-based Africa50 investment fund is in the early stages of a plan to deliver renewable power to 250 million residents of the Sahel, including 90 million off-grid users, by building 10,000 megawatts of new solar capacity across the region.
At present, only 42% of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity, Climate Home News reports.
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“Sahel countries have identified the potential of solar power to bring green energy to people across the region,” said Green Climate Fund Executive Director Howard Bamsey. “Renewable energy investment is a priority in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement.”
At this point, the $10-billion Climate Fund has agreed to work with the other two partners on a project that would have to be approved by the GCF Board. From past experience, that process is neither speedy or straightforward. Still, E3G Senior Policy Advisor Helena Wright welcomed the plan as “a strong signal to the private sector about the huge regional opportunities for renewable energy”.
Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé said the agreement with the ADB and GCF would give his organization greater leverage to assemble financing for projects “that will provide millions of people and businesses on the continent with clean and affordable energy”.
“There is a huge potential to transform deserts into sources of energy and avoid dependence on fossil fuels,” Wright told Climate Home News. “However, at the same time there have been reports that the ADB is considering funding a coal plant in Kenya, despite the major concerns from local groups.”