The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have started works under the Scaling Mini-Grid (SMG) program, which was designed by the World Bank to improve electrification in the central African country.
With only 19% of the population in the DRC having access to electricity in 2019 the SMG aims to directly address this by raising $400 million from the private sector in 2022 alone. This capital will be used to fund the deployment of 180 MW of solar PV capacity and to connect over 1.5 million homes, businesses, schools, and clinics to electricity in the Mbuji-Mayi and Kananga cities.
The project will help the government move closer to meeting the target of connecting 30% of its population to electricity by 2024, with feasibility studies for project deployment already having been carried out in Kasai-Oriental and Kasai-Central provinces.
“Renewable energy is a priority sector for the DRC government to foster growth, income generation and job creation, while supporting the ambitious goal of providing universal access to electricity,” stated Olivier Mwenze Mukaleng, Minister of Hydraulic Resources and Electricity, DRC, adding that, “We look forward to leveraging the World Bank Group’s SMG platform to electrify more than 100 cities ranging from 50,000 to three million inhabitants across DRC’s 145 territories.”
The mini grids will be supplied by a solar PV plant which will be integrated with a battery energy storage system, a smart distribution network and an innovative energy tariff that guarantees return on investment for project funders.
Following the signing of an agreement to implement the SMG in November 2021, the IFC and DRC have secured support from the Global Infrastructure Facility, the Green Climate Fund, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) as well as the governments of Italy and Canada.
“IFC is proud to help the DRC increase electricity access through the SMG program. Championing the power sector in Africa is crucial to spur development and the private sector will be front and center of that drive,” stated Sylvain Kakou, Country Manager for Central Africa, IFC.