Africa’s Sahel tapping into the power of the sun

The African Development Bank and International Solar Alliance are joining forces to scale up solar energy in Africa. Their goal is to develop 10,000 MW of solar power systems across the sunshine-rich Sahel.

As part of the new agreement, the International Solar Alliance will support the African Development Bank’s Desert to Power solar initiative, which seeks to provide electricity to 250 million people across the Sahel, 90 million of whom will get electricity from off-grid systems.

“This is an important milestone for the bank in its efforts to lead the continent’s transformation towards sustainable energy through the use of solar technologies, and in its bid to reach universal access to energy in Africa,”  Amadou Hott of the African Development Bank said in a statement.

The African Development Bank and the International Solar Alliance will jointly support technical assistance and knowledge transfer for solar development and deployment in sunshine-rich African countries. Both parties will also develop financial tools for both off-grid solar projects as well as large-scale solar independent power producers for African International Solar Alliance member countries.

The agreement was sealed on the margins of the International Solar Alliance’s founding conference held in New Delhi last week. The conference was co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India and President Emmanuel Macron of France.

In his opening remarks at the conference, President Macron said that the three top priorities of the International Solar Alliance are identifying solar projects, mobilizing public and private finance at scale with a focus on guarantee instruments, and transferring innovative technology solutions and capacity building.

Prime Minister Modi underscored the need to ensure that better and affordable solar technology is available and accessible to everyone.

About 50 countries were represented by heads of state/government and ministers including 11 African presidents and several African prime ministers. They were joined at the conference by solar manufacturers, developers, financial institutions, green funds, innovators, startups and NGOs.

The International Solar Alliance initiative was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former French president Francois Hollande. It is a collaborative platform and a coalition of solar-rich countries designed to address their special energy needs through a common and agreed approach. 32 of the 60 member countries are from Africa.

Image credit: Nick Blackmer via Flickr

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