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Five African countries join International Solar Alliance

Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire, Somalia and Ghana on Monday, May 22, 2017 signed the ISA framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), while Comoros signed and submitted its ratification instrument on Tuesday. Nauru also submitted its instrument of ratification.

Gandhinagar
The African Development Bank Annual Meeting held in Gandhinagar, India

An ISA event was held on the sidelines of the African Development Bank Annual Meeting in Gandhinagar, capital of the state of Gujarat in Western India. Finance Minister, Shri Arun Jaitley, graced the signing and ratification ceremony organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

A total of 30 countries (Bangladesh, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Guinea Bissau, India, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Nauru, Niger, Republic of Guinea, Senegal, Seychelles, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu) signed the ISA Framework Agreement in Marrakech on November 15, 2016 (within 41 days of finalising the text of the agreement, a record). Rwanda signed the Framework Agreement on January 9, 2017, taking the total number of signatories to 25 countries.

Within seven months of the opening of the Framework Agreement for signature in November 2016, the total number of signatories to the ISA framework agreement reached 31, with six countries ratifying the agreement, a record in itself. The ISA, as a legal entity, will come into existence once 15 countries ratify and deposit the framework agreement.

India and France were the first two countries to ratify the Framework Agreement. Fiji has also completed the ratification process and will deposit its instrument with the MEA in the next few weeks.

The ISA initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, 2015 by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and French President, Francois Hollande. The ISA is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

The Prime Minister of India and the President of France jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Haryana on January 25, 2016. Launching the Secretariat, Prime Minister of India described the ISA as a potent tool for mutual cooperation among the member countries for mutual gains through enhances solar energy utilisation.

The total Government of India support including the normative cost of the land will be about Rs. 400 crore ($62 million). Of this, Rs. 175 crore ($27 million) will be utilised for building infrastructure and recurring expenditure.

The recurring expenditure on ISA is met from voluntary contributions from member countries, bilateral and multilateral agencies; other appropriate institutions; and from interest earned from the augmented corpus to be built up. In addition to contribution for creating ISA corpus fund, Government of India has offered training support for ISA member countries at National Institute for Solar Energy (NISE) and also support for demonstration projects for solar home lighting, solar pumps for farmers and for other solar applications. The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) also announced contribution of $1 million each to the ISA corpus fund.

The International Steering Committee of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), open to all 121 prospective member countries of the ISA (those falling between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn) held its meetings in Paris (Dec 1, 2015), Abu Dhabi (Jan 18, 2016), and New York (April 22, 2016). The ISC held its 4th meeting on October 5, 2016 in New Delhi, India.

At the 4th ISC meeting in New Delhi, the draft Framework Agreement on establishment of the ISA was circulated among the prospective member countries. Prospective ISA countries were requested to convey their acceptance, suggest comments (if any) or seek clarifications (if required) on the Draft Framework Agreement of the ISA by 17 October 2016. The finalised ISA Framework Agreement, which seeks to establish ISA as a treaty-based organisation was opened for signature at the 22nd Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-22) in Marrakech, Morocco that held last November. MEA’s Economic Diplomacy Division has been spearheading the process of getting the prospective countries to sign up and ratify the framework agreement.

The Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India has set aside $2 billion for solar projects in Africa out of Government of India’s $10 Billion concessional Line of Credit for Africa. The LOC will be extended to all those African countries that have signed and ratified the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement.

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