The African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed to spending $12 billion over four years (2016-2020) in 11 Sahel countries, in bids to improve energy development on the continent.
The countries include Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.
According to the Cameroon Tribune, the announcement was made by Serge Marie N'Guessan, AfDB Country Representative for Senegal, while attending a two-day renewable energy forum in Dakar on Monday.
The AfDB official was cited underlining that the universal access to power demands huge means, which is why the bank is investing so much in the programme, dubbed Transform the desert into energy. Read more: Development bank reflects on new perspective
N'Guessan explained that the objective is to provide power for household use, Small and Medium size Enterprises, pumping water for livestock farming, irrigation, agricultural production zones and mitigating the effects of climate change by developing solar energy in desert parts of Africa.
Sahel populations lacking electricity
The bank is therefore soliciting the support of other financial institutions to boost financing for the programme.
The programme is also financed by the French Development Agency, AFD along the so-called Sahel Green Wall. Other partners involved in the programme are the International Renewable Energy Agency, Solar Plaza, and private sector and technical concerns.
According to the Programme Coordinator, Dr Assyonsar Masra Succès, it is part of the New Pact for African Sahel Energy.
Meanwhile, Senegal has been chosen for the launch of the project following its experience in solar energy production like the Tobène Power plant with 105MW and those of Bokhol and Malicounda.
The Sahel has an estimated population of 400 million people, with 250 million without electricity.