The Gambia, the European Union (EU) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have announced the signing of a €24 million EU Global Gateway grant agreement – alongside an €8 million loan from the EIB – to support the implementation of a renewable energy on- and off-grid generation, transmission and distribution program – dubbed The Gambia Renewable Energy project – that will provide over 1,000 schools and 100 health centers in rural parts of the West African country with renewable energy.
The new grant agreement, which was signed at the United Nations 5th Conference for Least Developed Countries on 7 March by EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen; Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of the Republic of The Gambia, Seedy Keita; and EIB Vice-President, Thomas Östros, brings the total financial backing to the EU- and EIB-backed project to over €100 million.
“The project will transform the electricity sector of The Gambia via the ‘Solarization’ of up to 1,000 schools and 100 health facilities, especially in the remote areas of the country,” Keita stated, adding, “Furthermore, it will provide beneficiaries in the education and health sectors with reliable and clean energy, thereby reducing our carbon footprint. We are towards the realization of universal access to electricity for all Gambians by 2025.”
Upon completion, The Gambia Renewable Energy project will increase energy supply in the West African country by over one-fifth, supporting the construction of a new 23 MWp solar photovoltaic plant at the village of Jambur – situated near the country’s capital city of Banjul – while providing solar panels and battery technology to reinforce power transmission and distribution infrastructure.
“Affordable, reliable, and sustainable access to electricity for all is a Global Gateway priority. This flagship green energy project is a fantastic win-win for climate action and human development, for empowering young people, and for creating more economic opportunities in the country,” Urpilainen stated.
Allocated under the Gambian Government’s Renewable Energy program, the project is set to ensure that education and health services benefit from the deployment of reliable and clean power.
“Investment in The Gambia’s energy infrastructure is essential to improve economic opportunities as well as better daily lives,” Östros stated, adding, “Together, this scheme will enable The Gambia to be the first country in Africa to provide renewable energy electrification for all public schools and health facilities.”