AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina says that the bank helped provide access to electricity for 3.8 million Africans in 2017, a number it wants to increase to 29.3 million people by 2020. (Photo Credit: AfDB)
- AfDB has proposed a plan to deploy 10 GW of solar power systems across the Sahel region in Africa
- This capacity is aimed at helping to bring power to 250 million people; at least 90 million would be provided with off-grid solutions
- The target is to provide electricity to 29.3 million Africans by 2020 through its Light Up and Power Africa initiatives
- The bank will also triple its climate financing to 40% of new approvals by 2020
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has proposed providing clean power to 250 million people in Africa by partnering to develop 10 GW of solar power systems across the Sahel region, stretching from the Sahara desert in the north to the Sudan region in south. At least 90 million people will get off-grid systems.
The bank’s goal is to provide electricity to 29.3 million Africans by 2020 under its initiatives Light Up and Power Africa, as well as its High 5 programs for development priorities in Africa.
“The African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina at the United Nations Economic Commission For Africa in Ethiopia on Jan. 29. “The share of renewable energy in the bank’s energy portfolio increased from 14% when I became president in 2015 to 100% last year. Our support last year alone provided 3.8 million Africans with access to electricity. And, with adequate financing, we expect to reach 29.3 million people with access to electricity between 2018 and 2020.”
The bank is involved in multiple solar projects on the African Continent, including Egypt, Morocco, Chad or a 50 MW solar power system in Burkina Faso, which, once operational, will power homes in the region, preventing energy-poor households from cutting down trees planted to project against desertification in the Sahelian zone to use as fuel wood.
Drawing a link between environmental degradation, extreme poverty and youth unemployment – what Adesina terms the “Triangle of Disaster” – he said if these are not addressed, they would eventually lead to “dereliction, terrorism, violence and conflict.”
On Jan. 30, a UN Security Council statement also expressed concern about the overall humanitarian situation in West Africa and Sahel region, noting that the area is characterized by “armed conflict, terrorism and climate change,” as well as other problems, that lead to “chronic and acute vulnerability in the region.”
The AfDB has committed to tripling its climate financing to 40% of new approvals by 2020.