Desert to Power: The initiative for access to electricity in the Sahel

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By Era Environnement

10 countries in Africa will benefit from technical assistance “Desert to Power” in the Sahel, recently announced the African Development Bank (AfDB) in a evaluation report. “Desert to Power” is a technical assistance for the implementation of solar energy projects initially in 11 countries in the Sahel region, Sudan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Senegal. But Sudan is not in this evaluation report.

Several financial and technical players have been mobilized since the launch of the initiative in 2019. Among other , there is the private sector in the field of electricity networks and mini-grids, reports the African Development Bank. The project is valued at US$16,466 million, including a US$9.5 million grant from the African Development Fund.

US$302.9 million in funding for Mali and Mauritania has just been approved on december 14 by the African Development Fund. It will help the implementation of the 225 kV Electricity Interconnection Project Mauritania-Mali. It will also develop associated solar power plants.

According to the AfDB evaluation report, Sahel countries face common challenges in the energy sector, with inadequate energy production capacity, and a strong dependence on fossil fuels. But the region has enormous potential for solar energy production, recalled the report. Desert to Power is part of the AfDB new deal on energy access in Africa. It is also a key pillar of the Great Green Wall initiative. It should provide clean electricity for 250 millions people. Africa has more than 600 million people without access to energy.

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