AfDB’s Sh1.2 trillion to light up Africa

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Africa Development Bank (AfDB) will spend Sh1.2 trillion ($12 billion) to enhance electricity access to over 350 million people in Africa in the next five years.

Under the New Deal on Energy for Africa’ strategy, the bank will also leverage between Sh4.5 trillion and Sh5 trillion ($45-50 billion) respectively from the private sector to light up and power Africa.

Light up and power Africa is one of the priority areas the bank is fast -tracking under its ten years strategy. Amadou Hott, AfDB’s Vice-President in charge of power, energy, climate and green growth, during the 2017 annual meetings in India last week, said the money will be spent to connect people to the grid, off grid and enable consumers access clean cooking energy.

“The bank plans to connect 130 million people to the grid system, 75 million people through off-grid systems and provide 150 million people with clean cooking energy,” he said.

“Nearly 50 projects were approved in the energy sector in 2016 by the Board of Directors, with the largest ones having cross-sectoral implications in areas such as governance” said Amadou.

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Access to electricity remains a challenge and the bank is determined to change the trend. The bank’s goal, Amadou added, is to help achieve universal access to electricity by 2025. AfDB is at the forefront of the renewable energy and ‘Off-Grid Revolution’ in Africa.

Together with the African Union, it hosts the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative that has attracted Sh1 billion ($10 billion) in investment commitments from G7 countries.

Countries that have recently benefited from its funding include Sh1.1 billion ($11 million) and Sh700 million ($7 million) loan and grant respectively to South Sudan with the Juba Power distribution system rehabilitation and expansion project and Sh13.5 billion ($135 million) loan for the second phase of the Last Mile Connectivity in Kenya.

Electricity is more expensive in Kenya as compared to other countries on the continent. The country has made electrical power sources diversification a priority and developed the Menengai Geothermal power project, financed by AfDB to the tune of Sh50.3 billion.

The plant is expected to have production capacity of 400MW that will provide reliable, clean and affordable electricity to thousands of households and industrial structures.

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