- World Bank approves $311 million to install and operate solar, battery energy storage systems and hydroelectric projects in West Africa
- About $20 million included in this fund will enable future regional power trade and strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of the West Africa Power Pool
- Electricity consumers in Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo specifically stand to gain with this funding
The World Bank Group announced that from its new Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE) it has approved $311 million in International Development Association (IDA) financing to West African countries for installing and operating solar, battery energy storage systems and hydroelectric projects.
In this financing is included a grant of $20 million that will enable regional power trade in the future. This grant will also further strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) to undertake its regional mandate. The electricity consumers in Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo specifically stand to gain from this development.
Remarking on this, World Bank Task Team Leader of the project Rhonda Jordan-Antoine said, “West Africa has one of the lowest electrification rates coupled with some of the highest electricity costs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore, rising oil prices have increased the liabilities of electricity utilities and countries are staring at an acute power supply crisis that threatens to upend their economic growth. Solutions supported by the new project are manyfold and have substantial benefits for the countries and the region. Among others, it will provide fiscal space for countries to address food crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine, initiate development of competitively tendered grid-connected clean energy to alleviate current power supply crisis, positively address climate change by helping countries to move away from expensive and polluting fuels, and help synchronize the WAPP network to enhance regional integration in the energy sector.”
Echoing similar sentiments, World Bank Director for Regional Integration for Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Northern Africa Ms. Boutheina said, “RESPITE provides benefits that spill over country boundaries and complements existing regional integration efforts in the energy sector involving all member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It provides economies of scale, increases potential for regional trade through investments in transmission and generation infrastructure to integrate the markets physically, and develops regional public good by facilitating knowledge sharing and capacity building.”