Cross River State

On Monday, the African Development Bank (AfDB), through it’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), approved a $995,000 grant for the development of renewable energy in the Republic of The Gambia.

The funds will assist to implement a programme to facilitate private investments in Green Mini-Grids through the creation of an enabling policy, institutional and regulatory framework, as well as direct support to project development and financing.

The Gambia electricity access

The Bank noted that access to electricity in The Gambia currently stands around 40% country-wide and 12% in rural areas, and is mostly powered by fossil fuel generation, which translates into one of the highest consumer tariffs in the west African region.

In efforts to improve electricity access, while moving away from fossil fuel generation, government has demonstrated interest in realising the opportunity of ‘greening’ its power sector by incorporating renewable energy in the country’s energy mix.

Specifically, the SEFA-funded project will support the preparation of appropriate policy and regulatory framework, develop technical standards and guidelines, carry out feasibility studies and structure a tender process to attract the most suitable investors, the Bank said.

The project will also provide technical and institutional capacity building, including on legal and regulatory issues, for the ministry of petroleum and energy, the Regulator (PURA), the national power utility (NAWEC), the communities and other private key stakeholders.

“At this time of transition, we are pleased about assisting The Gambia in attracting investments into clean energy mini-grids. These will be key to providing energy to all rural households and businesses, thus laying the foundations for sustainable economic development,” AfDB renewable energy division manager, Engedasew Negash Habtemichael, stated.

Funding model

Launched in 2012, SEFA is a $95-million multi-donor facility funded by the governments of Denmark, the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy.

The funding supports the sustainable energy agenda in Africa through grants to facilitate the preparation of medium-scale renewable energy generation and energy efficiency projects.

SEFA also facilitate equity investments to bridge the financing gap for small- and medium-scale renewable energy generation projects; and support to the public sector to improve the enabling environment for private investments in sustainable energy.

SEFA is hosted by the renewable energy department of the AfDB.