Lighting up 11 desert countries of Africa with solar energy is pet vision of the African Development Bank but 2030 might seem like forever for the project to see reality
G5 Sahel Summit looks to transform region with huge solar energy resource
OUAGADOUGOU: President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, is in the capital of Burkina Faso as guest of the September 13 Summit of Heads of State and Government of G5 Sahel countries.
Welcoming him was the Burkinabe leader, Marc Roch Christian Kaboré, who congratulated the Bank on the Desert to Power (DTP) initiative. Kaboré underlined the excellent relations of his country with the Bank, thanking it for the projects implemented in its country. Referring to the issues surrounding the cotton industry, both men stressed the strengthening of this sector as well as the need for a global mobilization around the DTP initiative, even beyond the G5 Sahel countries.
For his part, Adesina paid tribute to President Kaboré’s commitment, vision and leadership for agreeing to host the Summit, pointing the importance of the political will for the success of the “Desert to Power” initiative.
DTP provides the opportunity to strengthen the South-South partnership.
”The political will is very important and I can only rejoice at the determination of the G5 Sahel presidents around the initiative,” Adesina stated.
On this Summit, the Bank must formally present its DTP “Desert to Power” initiative to Heads of State and Government. At least 20 billion US dollars will have to be mobilized from development partners.
The Bank must advocate at the Summit, with the goal of securing universal access to electricity for more than 60 million people through solar energy. Adesina had noted the paradox of the region being among the sunniest in the world yet there is lack of access to electricity. ”Today more than ever, cross-border cooperation and trade in the energy sector will be key to maintaining long-term security of supply in the face of climate change challenges,” he said.
In the G5 Sahel countries, some 60 million people suffer the consequences of lack of access to electricity, with key sectors of the economy, heavy reliance on fossil fuels, weakness in production capacity and physical infrastructure.
As part of its strategy to electrify Africa, the Bank commits to accelerating access to quality energy at a lower cost for African populations. Essential interconnections of networks have been approved by the Bank’s Board of Directors: Mali-Guinea, Nigeria-Niger-Benin-Burkina Faso and Chad-Cameroon. “We need harmonization of policies and move towards an energy free energy zone,” said Adesina.
The DTP initiative covers 11 countries: Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Djibouti, Senegal and Chad. It will have a significant impact on the living conditions of 250 million people who should have access to electricity.
The goal is to install nearly 10 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2030.
This initiative is a major contribution to achieving the Bank’s five strategic priorities, the “High 5”, as access to energy is transversal to all sectors of Africa’s development. It is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Renewable Energy Initiative for Africa.