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Alliance announces $35m support to African solar initiative

The Global Energy Alliance for People and Plane has announced a $35 million support to the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), under the Desert to Power initiative.

Renewable energy: Solar panels

This was contained in a statement by the Communication and External Relations, African Development Bank (AfDB), issued on Monday, November 14, 2022.

It stated that Joseph Nganga, the Executive Director for Africa for the alliance announced the support.

Nganga made this known at an event held during the 27th UN Climate Change Conference, in Sharm El-Sheikh on Friday, November 11.

The Desert to Power initiative, which is designed to make Africa a renewable power house, was inaugurated in 2019 by the AfDB Group and its partners.

Nganga said the initiative is set to increase solar generation capacity to provide 250 million people with electricity access across Africa’s Sahel region.

He said the alliance would also support the de-risking of investment made in the Desert to Power infrastructure, as well as innovative solutions that would drive the programme to succeed.

Also, Norway’s Minister for International Development, Anne Tvinnereim, announced a contribution of 300 million Norwegian kroner (around $29 million), from the Norwegian Government to support SEFA.

Tvinnereim spoke on the role of renewable energy in sustainable development.

“We need to make sure there is access to renewable energy and prevent old fossil emissions. To tackle the crisis in the region, we need the readiness of the governments of the region.

“We also need sustained access to renewable energy and the Desert to Power programme, developed by the African Development Bank, to respond to these critical issues.”

Moreover, AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina spoke on the importance of electricity in ensuring security and poverty reduction.

“Desert to Power is a 20-billion-dollar initiative to do 10,000 megawatts of solar power.

“This will be the largest solar zone in the world, and so we want to turn this into a real economic activity, one that will generate productive energy to be used by countries across the Sahel,” Adesina said.

The AfDB president said the initiative had several components.

These included utility-scale solar generation, decentralised energy solutions, transmission and distribution, utility reform, and an efficient policy and regulatory environment to safeguard investments.

He said the programme would significantly contribute to climate action by protecting a Great Green Wall against desertification and other climate change impacts.

The AfDB chief thanked the heads of state and ministers from the various host countries for supporting the initiative.

Furthermore, President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger, who addressed the event via video, spoke on his government’s support for the programme.

The energy ministers of Mauritania and Niger, as well as senior representatives from key Desert to Power partners, underscored their support for the initiative.

The partners included Power Africa, the Swedish International Development Agency, the European Commission, the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Green Climate Fund, among others.

The event was organised by the AfDB in the Africa Pavilion at COP27.

It was titled: “Desert to Power – transforming the Sahel from fragility to resilience and prosperity”.

It also brought together government ministers, development partners and private sector representatives to discuss how to facilitate private sector investments in the Sahel.

The event was also an opportunity to present the Desert to Power programme to potential partners and to rally investors toward its implementation.

Desert to Power would develop and provide 10 gigawatts of solar energy by 2030 across 11 countries with education, health and business.

The project would also positively impact Senegal, Nigeria, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Eritrea.

By Temitope Ponle

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