The Central African Republic (CAR) is receiving a $138 million grant for the implementation of renewable energy systems focusing on autonomous solar electrification projects, the World Bank has announced.
Of the $138 million, the International Development Association (IDA), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group, is providing $83 million, while the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is contributing $30 million. On top of these lump-sums, the World Bank is then going to add “private financing” of $25 million.
This grant was provided as part of the Access and Strengthening of the Electricity Sector Project (PARSE), which aims to increase the rate of access to electricity through investments in production and transmission infrastructure.
“The PARSE project will consolidate the achievements of the PURCELL (Emergency Electricity Access Project) and PASEEL (Water and Electricity Services Improvement Project) projects by increasing the supply of and access to clean electricity services,” Han Fraeters, the World Bank’s Resident Representative in CAR, said.
CAR developing mini-grids to increase electrification rate
In the capital Bangui, the Central African government plans to extend the capacity of the Danzi solar photovoltaic power plant from 25 to 40MWp. This facility has officially been under construction since June 2021. PARSE also includes the installation of off-grid solar systems for households, 300 schools, 300 health centres, 100 administrative buildings and the adaptation of 100 community drinking water supplies (AEP) to solar photovoltaic systems.
In the towns of Nola, Bouar, Bossembélé and Bangassou, the Central African government plans to build five solar-powered mini-grids. These facilities will have a combined capacity of 10MW, expected to supply 20 000 people in the four towns.
According to the World Bank, 85% of the CAR population does not yet have access to electricity, out of an estimated population of nearly 5 million. This situation mainly concerns rural areas where only 0.4% of the population has access to this essential service.
As a result, the Washington-based financial institution is also accompanying its financing with a programme to strengthen the skills of Energie Centrafricaine (ENERCA), the public company responsible for the production, transportation and distribution of electricity in the central African country. The implementation of PARSE is thus expected to enable the country to increase its rate of access to electricity.