The board of directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $7 million grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), for a new technical assistance initiative meeting the needs of the continent’s fast-evolving renewable mini-grid industry.
The Africa Mini-Grid Market Acceleration Programme (AMAP), which aims to expand private mini-grid investment on the African continent, will include three core components:
- The implementation of a new and standardised framework for national-scale Mini-Grid Acceleration Programmes (MAPs) in four countries;
- the design and enhancement of financial de-risking solutions;
- and support for knowledge, innovation, and skills development activities, including the continuation of the Bank’s Green Mini-Grid Help Desk website.
“Mini-grids are an integral and increasingly important feature of the energy access solution, not just in terms of providing lights to households, but also in ensuring that underserved populations have access to productive uses of energy to power inclusive and green economic growth,” said Dr Kevin Kariuki, the Bank’s Vice-President for power, energy, climate and green growth.
Dr Kariuki added: “AMAP underscores the African Development Bank’s commitment to strengthening Africa’s mini-grids industry, which we see as a key driver for accelerated energy access, climate resilience, and a green post-COVID-19 recovery.”
African mini-grid industry
Over the years, the Bank has established leadership in building the African mini-grid industry. In addition to the AMAP, the Bank hosts a number of targeted initiatives, including the Green Mini-Grid Market Development Programme under the Sustainable Energy for All Africa Hub, the Nigeria National Electrification Project, and the DRC Green Mini-Grid Programme.
AMAP’s initial phase is expected to lead to 880,000 new electricity access connections providing modern energy access to over 4 million people; over 80MW of renewable energy-based generation; the creation of 7,200 full-time jobs, of which 1,800 are anticipated to be held by women; reductions of over 6.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2eq) in lifetime greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the facilitation of an estimated $650 million of public and private investments in mini-grids.
AMAP is strongly aligned to the ambitions of the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa as well as the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Aaron Leopold, CEO of the Africa Minigrid Developers Association, also commented: “Mini-grids are a fundamental but under-supported element of Africa’s energy future. To achieve SDG 7, the UN’s target for universal energy access, the sector must be radically scaled up. To do this, a holistic and broad-spectrum support programme informed by industry needs is required to bring governments, investors, and of course the mini-grid sector the kind of support that can facilitate fast and efficient progress. For these reasons, AMDA is excited to see AfDB working to bring mini-grid investments in Africa to the next level.”