Electricity customers in four west African countries which include, Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo will be benefiting from $311 million in funding from the World Bank’s Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE).
This amount was approved by the World bank to increase grid-connected renewable energy capacity for West African countries with additional financing coming from the International Development Association, IDA.
The World Bank Task Team Leader of the project, Rhonda Jordan-Antoine, gave more details about the project and also described the benefits the project will provide for the benefiting countries and regions.
“Solutions supported by the new project are manyfold and have substantial benefits for the countries and the region.
“It will also provide fiscal space for countries to address the food crisis resulting from the war in Ukraine, initiate the development of competitively tendered grid-connected clean energy to alleviate the current power supply crisis, positively address climate change by helping countries to move away from expensive and polluting fuels and help synchronise the WAPP network to enhance regional integration in the energy sector.” Jordan-Antoine stated.
The world finance body explained that in order to facilitate future regional power trade within the west African region and further strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of the region, an additional $20m grant will be earmarked to fast-track this project.
The release stated, “The main objective of the RESPITE is to rapidly increase grid-connected renewable energy capacity and strengthen regional integration in the participating countries.
“It will finance the installation and operation of approximately 106 megawatts of solar photovoltaic with battery energy and storage systems, 41 megawatts expansion of hydroelectric capacity, and will support electricity distribution and transmission interventions across the four countries.”
While the West African region has been noted to have one of the lowest electrification rates, its electricity costs have been described as one of the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
At the moment, the region may be heading for an acute power supply crisis owing to the soaring oil prices that have increased the liabilities of electricity utilities which will, in turn, affect its economic growth plan.