THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility, covering Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The Bank envisages to commit up to $379.6 million in financing and technical assistance for the facility over the next seven years.
The Desert to Power G5 Financing Facility aims to assist the G5 Sahel countries to adopt a low-emission power generation pathway by making use of the region’s abundant solar potential. The facility will focus on utility-scale solar generation through independent power producers and energy storage solutions. These investments will be backed by a technical assistance component to enhance implementation capacity, strengthen the enabling environment for private sector investments, and ensure gender and climate mainstreaming.
The facility is expected to result in 500 MW of additional solar generation capacity and facilitate electricity access to some 695,000 households. Over the lifespan of the project, it is expected to reduce carbon emissions by over 14.4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
The Board of the Green Climate Fund approved $150 million in concessional resources in October 2021 for the facility, which is expected to leverage around $437 million in additional financing from other development finance institutions, commercial banks and private sector developers. The Global Centre on Adaptation is providing technical assistance to strengthen adaptation and resilience measures undertaken in the facility as part of the Africa Adaptation Programme in partnership with the African Development Bank.
The African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, Dr. Kevin Kariuki said: ‘The innovative blended finance approach of the Desert to Power G5 Sahel Facility will de-risk, and therefore catalyse, private sector investment in solar power generation in the region. This will lead to transformational energy generation and bridge the energy access deficit in some of Africa’s most fragile countries.’
Dr. Daniel Schroth, the Bank’s Acting Director for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, added: ‘The facility will also support the integration of larger shares of variable renewables in the region’s power systems, notably through the deployment of innovative battery storage solutions and grid investments.’
The facility will be implemented as part of the broader Desert to Power initiative, a flagship programme led by the African Development Bank. The objective is to light up and power the Sahel region by adding 10 GW of solar generation capacity and providing electricity to around 250 million people in the 11 Sahelian countries by 2030.