The Executive Directors of the World Bank approved a $22.5 million grant on March 11, 2021 for the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP). This funding complements the $217.2 million that was approved in April 2019 by the International Development Association (IDA), a World Bank Group subsidiary, and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF).
The Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) is to be implemented in 19 Central and West African countries. The beneficiary countries include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Cameroon, and Mauritania. The initiative is aimed at developing off-grid solar systems on the African continent and improving energy access.
“This operation aims to support the development of the market for stand-alone solar systems in West and Central Africa, particularly in the Sahel countries. It complements the operation approved in April 2019, financed with $150 million from IDA and $67.2 million from CTF,” the World Bank says.
World Bank funding to help improve energy access
In countries like Cameroon, the ROGEP project will tremendously improve the electricity access rate, which currently stands 62% as of 2017 according to the World Bank figures cited by a report published by electric utility ENEO in 2018. The project will also contribute to the diversification of the country’s energy mix. Cameron’s energy mix is currently dominated by hydroelectricity which constitutes over 60% of the energy mix, whilst other renewable energy sources like solar and wind constitute less 1% of the energy mix despite massive potential.
“Off-grid solar systems have strong commercial potential in West and Central Africa, including Sahel countries, but the region is struggling to attract sufficient investment in these off-grid solutions. This new funding will help meet the growing demand for reliable sources of electricity and create jobs for the millions of people currently without electricity or suffering from the irregular supply, as well as businesses and public institutions that can rely on modern stand-alone solar systems to improve living standards and expand economic activity,” said Deborah Wetzel, director of regional integration for sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa.