Flagship “Desert to Power” project receives a $5.5 million grant to fund phase 2

Half of the 340 million people living in the Sahel region do not have access to electricity. The African Development Bank’s “Desert to Power” initiative aims to provide electricity to 250 million people.

On 8 April 2022, the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced that the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund had approved a $5.5 million grant to finance phase two of the Eastern Region’s Desert to Power initiative, known as the East Africa Regional Power Project. This $5.5 million is in addition to the $22.5 million fund approved by the World Bank on 11 March 2021 for the Sahel Off-Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP) – Borgen Project Report.

The “desert to power” initiative was launched in 2018 by the African Development Bank to add 10 GW of solar generation capacity (by 2025) and provide electricity to about 250 million people in the Sahel region – AfDB.

Indeed, the grant is in line with the mandate of the African Development Fund (ADF). The ADF, as suggested above, is the concessional arm of the African Development Bank that focuses on Sustainable Development Goals #1 on poverty eradication and #8 on decent work and economic growth – AfDB.

It has been established that about 50 per cent of the 340 million people living in the Sahel region do not have access to electricity (Borgen Project). Energy poverty costs African countries about 2-4% of GDP each year (AfDB).

This grant is therefore welcome: an IEA study suggests that every additional dollar invested in the energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa can increase economic output by about $15. This indicates that this investment has the potential to increase the manufacturing output and economy of these four countries in the Sahel region by $82.5 million and more.

For more information on the “Desert to Power” project or other power projects in Africa, please reach out to us here.

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