World Bank and AfDB target 300 million power connections in Africa

World Bank and AfDB target 300 million power connections in Africa
World Bank and AfDB target 300 million power connections in Africa

Africa-Press – Eritrea. The World Bank has partnered with the African Development Bank to connect an additional 300 million people in Africa to the grid in the coming six years.

In the new deal, the World Bank seeks to pump in at least $30 billion (Sh3.9 trillion) through public sector investment to target countries such as Kenya who’s among the potential beneficiaries.

Energy PS Alex Wachira last year noted Kenya is currently under a funding programme with AfDB, the European Investment Bank and the Japanese International Corporation Agency (JICA), in a bid to ensure al homes are connected to the national grid by 2030.

He also noted that the country was open to further funding programmes from international players towards the goal.

The new pact will see the World Bank work to connect 250 million people to electricity through distributed renewable energy systems or the distribution grid.

On the other hand, the African Development Bank Group will support an additional 50 million people.

Currently, 600 million Africans lack access to electricity, creating significant barriers to health care, education, productivity, digital inclusivity, and ultimately job creation.

In Kenya, PS Wachira said there exists a gap of about 25 per cent, making the number of people still not connected to the grid, majorly domiciled in rural settings.

World Bank Group president Ajay Banga therefore says it is essential that countries continuously devise strategies to propel full electrification in the long run.

“Electricity access is the bedrock of all development. It is a critical ingredient for economic growth and essential for job creation at scale. Our aspiration will only be realised with partnership and ambition. We will need policy action from governments, financing from multilateral development banks, and private sector investment to see this through,” Banga said.

He added that the new deal is a demonstration of the determination of the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank Group to be bolder, bigger, and better in tackling one of the most pressing challenges in Africa.

The International Energy Agency reiterates the crucial role electricity will play for African countries, saying it will underpin the continent’s economic future with solar leading the way.

Beside financial support, the lenders reiterate that governments will need to put in place policies to attract private investment, and reform their utilities so they are financially sound and efficient with tariff mechanisms that protect the poor.

“Connecting over 250 million people to electricity would open private sector investment opportunities in distributed renewable energy alone worth $9 billion.”

The statement added that beyond that, there would be substantial opportunities for private investments in grid-connected renewable energy needed to power economies for growth.

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