Kenneth Afor with agency report
President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina has said that Nigeria and ten other countries in the Sahel region will benefit from the Desert to Power project when completed.
He said this at a joint press conference with the president of the G5 Sahel, Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso Friday, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
According to Adesina, the summit, “Harnessing solar energy for the socio-economic development of the G5 Sahel countries” was aimed at gathering leaders of the Sahel countries, regional and continental financial and economic development institutions to initiate ways of making good use of nature’s gift to man, the sun.
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Adesina said, “If the Sahel is blessed with this super abundant natural resource, it simply means God intended for us to have electricity 100% through the sun. it is, therefore, time to turn the Sahel’s largest natural resource – the sun – into the most powerful driver of its growth and prosperity. That is why we are here.”
He added that the project would generate 10,000MW of solar electricity to 250 million people across the Sahel.
The summit was piloted by the AfDB, with counterpart agencies including the World Bank, West African Economic and Monetary Union and Economic Community of West of West African States (ECOWAS).
“The African Development Bank is fully ready to work with all partners to make this Baobab of energy a success. Your strong political support and policies to make solar energy affordable across the Sahel will be critical,” Adesina added.
Countries to benefit from the Desert to Power project include Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan and Djibouti.
Meanwhile, Kabore urged the private sector to key in into the project thereby expressing the believe that it will be a huge success.
He sad, “The African Development Bank is our bank and the private sector must be involved in this important initiative for our countries. I have no doubt that with technical leadership of the AfDB, we will be able to mobilize the necessary funds.
Access to electricity is key for the economic development, prosperity and security of the G5 Sahel countries.”
Also, the G5 Sahel concluded on five priority areas which is; expanded utility-scale solar generation capacity, extending and strengthening power transmission networks, accelerating electrification through decentralized energy solutions, revitalizing national power utilities and improving business climates for increased private sector investments.
However, the initiative was earlier tabled to leaders of the G-7 during its summit in September in Biarritz, France and has received political backing.
The AfDB will constitute a body that would formulate a legal framework of the project. $140 million will be mobilized from donors and development partners for the initiatives project preparation phase.