The African Development Fund approves $5.5 million to fund the flagship Desert to Power initiative for 11 African countries in the Sahel region. The countries in the Sahel region are among the “low human development” section according to the 2020 Human Development Index, with five of them in the ten least developed countries globally. The countries are Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan. These countries are part of the most vulnerable in Africa, compromising an average GDP of 2.5 times less than the rest of the continent. However, this region is among the world’s highest receivers of sunlight.
The Desert to Power initiative, also called the East Africa Regional Energy Project, will boost social and economic development by utilizing solar technologies. It will be able to provide electricity for nearly 250 million people across the Sahel region. It will create technical studies for solar parks & associated battery storage near regional energy interconnectors and lay down high-voltage cables connecting electricity systems from neighboring countries. It is funded by an extension of the African Development Bank Group, the ADF-15 Regional Public Good. The project aims to turn the Sahel region into the world’s largest solar production zone with 10 GW by 2030.
The five priority focus areas are:
– Boost solar power generation
– Increase regional and national grids
– Develop off-grid energy generation
– Enhance the public electricity operators’ financial and operational capability
– Grow private investment
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