World Bank provides $200m facility to support solar off-grid access to electricity in West Africa and Sahel

The Board of the World Bank Group has approved a fund of $200m to implement the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP). The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) is the leading implementing agency of the project, which aims at increasing access to electricity in West Africa and Sahel Region.

The Board of the World Bank Group approved on April 17th the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP), which includes $150 million in the form of credit and grant from the International Development Association (IDA) and $74.7 million contingent recovery grant from the Clean Technology Fund to help the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the West African Development Bank (BOAD) to expand  off-grid access to electricity for populations in 19 countries[1] in West Africa and the Sahel region.

ROGEP primarily seeks to promote a harmonized regional market that provides the incentive for the proliferation of stand-alone solar equipment (e.g. solar lanterns, solar home systems, solar water pumps, solar milling equipment, etc.) to homes, business, and communities without access to electrical grid infrastructure.  This implies that the strategic implementation of ROGEP is contingent on addressing market and operational level barriers that are impeding the scaling up of solar off-grid technology in the designated countries. ROGEP will create a mechanism to access debt financing through BOAD for private sector companies supplying off-grid solar technology solutions for household use and other productive end users and to electrify community/ public institutions such as schools, health centers, administrative buildings, public lighting etc.

According to Rachid Benmessaoud, Coordinating Director for Regional Integration in West Africa, “So far, only 3 percent of households in West Africa and the Sahel are served by stand-alone solar home systems, and 208 million people in the sub-region do not have access to electricity. The project seeks to assist regional policy makers to address barriers to create a regional market for stand-alone solar systems, which is essential to reduce energy poverty in the region, and entrepreneurs to take opportunities in this market through development of scalable business solutions.”

Festus Amoyaw, acting coordinator of ROGEP stressed on the fact that ECREEE as the entity charged with the responsibility of promoting renewable usage in the region by ECOWAS welcomes the confidence imposed by the World Bank in the agency. The project will bring a lot of opportunities for users in households as well as productive uses. It will help to improve access to energy in all the 19 countries. Across the value of chain of the off grid sector, all the stakeholders stand to benefit from this initiative and look forward to engaging with them.

The project is expected to benefit about 1.7 million people currently living without electricity connection or with unreliable supply, as well as businesses and public institutions who will use modern stand-alone solar systems to improve their living standards and economic activities.

Click here to know more about ROGEP

[1] Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.