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The African Development Fund (ADF) Board has approved a $5.5 million technical assistant grant to roll-out the flagship Desert to Power initiative in the eastern Sahel region of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Sudan. ADF is the concessional arm of development finance institute, the African Development Bank (AfDB), with the latter responsible for leading the program.
Named the East African Regional African Project, the initiative will be funded via the ADF’s ADF -15 Regional Public Window and will see the development of technical studies for regional solar parks and relevant battery storage as well as electricity connection systems of neighboring countries. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), comprising governments from the Great Lakes, Nile Valley and Horn of Africa regions- will serve as the Desert to Power’s implementing agency for which the project will have strengthened technical capacity.
“The region will move one step closer to harnessing its tremendous solar energy potential to spur accelerated economic and social development,” says Dr Daniel Schroth, Acting Director for AfDB’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency department.
The Desert to Power program aims to advance socioeconomic development via solar technologies spread across 11 countries in the Sahel region including Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sudan. An estimated 10 GW will be added to the grid through the program, in efforts to provide electricity to 250 million people to these countries by 2030.