Africa saw 12% increase in electricity access rate between 2015 and 2019, with support from AfDB
The lack of access to electricity is one of the major obstacles to economic and social development in Africa. Many industrial units, small and medium-sized Enterprises in Africa, suffer as a result. Access to energy is high on the african development bank’s strategic priorities, known as “high5” and translated into programmes and projects across the continent. For example, the rate of access to electricity in Africa rose from 42% in 2015 to 54% in 2019 thanks, in particular, to the support of the African Development Bank, which has financed interconnection projects between its African (so-called regional) member countries and promoted the use of renewable energy.
With the Bank’s support, 291 MW of new electricity generation capacity was installed in 2019, 60% of which came from renewable energy sources. In the same year, some 432 kilometres of transmission lines and 435 kilometres of distribution lines were built on the continent, which helped nearly 468,000 people access electricity in 2019, according to the Bank’s latest Annual Development Efficiency Review (RAED), published by the Bank last December.
The African Development Bank has in recent years urged its African (so-called regional) member countries to streamline their production capacity and share their surplus electricity to improve cross-border energy trade, which is only 8% on the continent.
Between 2014 and 2020, the Bank made significant investments in renewable energy, including the Lake Turkana wind farm in Kenya, the NOOR Ouarzazate solar complex in Morocco and the Burkina Faso 2025 solar programme known as Yeleen.
The NOOR Ouarzazatesolar complex, one of the world’s largest solar parks, built with the support of the Bank, can guarantee the electricity supply to nearly two million Moroccans, while avoiding the release into the atmosphere of about one million tons of greenhouse gases each year. With a total capacity of 580 MW spread over four solar power plants, the complex has been operational since the end of 2018.
The Bank is also co-financing, with other financial partners, in Burkina Faso, under the Yeleen Programme, the Yeleen project to develop solar power plants and strengthen the national electricity system.
This project, scheduled for commissioning in 2024, will, on the one hand, increase and diversify the national energy supply by building four photovoltaic solar power plants with a total capacity of 52 MW and, on the other hand, to expand and densify the electricity distribution networks in order to connect 30,000 new households, or about 200,000 people.
The Bank’s energy access efforts connected nearly 20 million Africans to electricity between 2014 and 2018, more than double the increase observed for 2000-2013, the Bank’s annual report adds.
An iconic project
In addition to its multiple actions in renewable energy, the Bank is funding and participating in the implementation of the Desert to Powerinitiative, an iconic project deployed in eleven Sahel countries, which is expected to produce 10 GW of photovoltaic solar energy by 2030 for 250 million people. This opportunity to transform the Sahelian desert area into a source of energy produced from clean technologies will also promote agriculture, access to water and adaptation to climate change.
The Bank is also mobilizing partnerships and other internal mechanisms such as the Sustainable Energy Fund in Africa (SEFA) and the Green Climate Fund (FVC) to support electricity access efforts in Africa.
One of the Bank’s five operational priorities, High 5,is to inform and supply Africa with energy. Access to electricity is an essential condition for improving the quality of life of the continent’s people.