The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a US$ 6M grant for the launch of the initial phase of the Desert to Power West Africa Regional Energy Program.
Sourced from the African Development Fund’s 15 (ADF-15) Regional Operations Envelope, part of the grand will be handed over to the West African Power Pool (WAPP) to conduct pre-feasibility studies for the construction of the Sahel Transmission Backbone.
The latter will link regional solar parks in the G5 Sahel countries ( i.e. Chad, Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, and Niger).
The impact of the grant in the project area
According to Mr. Siengui Apollinaire K, the Secretary-General of the West African Power Pool, the Sahel Backbone is in line with the West African Power Pool’s ambition to reinforce interconnectivity among the ECOWAS national power systems, increase coverage area beyond the ECOWAS geographical space and increase renewable energy within the regions energy mix.
“The approval of this grant by the African Development Bank signifies a concrete step towards leveraging the solar potential of the Sahel region” explained Mr. Siengui Apollinaire K.
The grant will also help de-risk energy investments by preparing transmission infrastructure that will link countries in the Sahel region and harness a larger share of electricity from solar power.
This is expected to make the way for power trading on a regional electricity market.
Mr. Bah F. M. Saho, the acting Executive Director of the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) which will also receive a fraction of the grant to expand decentralized energy systems as part of an ECOWAS Regional Mini-Grid Program, said that the funding will allow the agency to upscale efforts on clean energy mini-grids and improve the availability of locally qualified personnel through the certification of technicians.