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AfDB Strengthens Ties With Private Infrastructure Development Group On Desert To Power Initiative


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed a new partnership agreement with the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), which is aimed deepening their cooperation on the implementation of the Desert to Power initiative.

The AfDB’s Desert to Power solar initiative is aimed at turning Africa into a renewable energy powerhouse. 11 countries are beneficiaries of the initiative include Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan and Chad.

The Lack of energy is a significant impediment to Africa’s economic and social development. Energy poverty in Africa costs the continent 2-4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually

Desert to Power which stretches across the Sahel region, connecting 250 million people with electricity by tapping into the region’s abundant solar resources. Its objective is to make make the Sahel the world’s largest solar production zone with up to 10 000 MW of solar generation capacity and speed up economic development through the deployment of solar technology.

PIDG is an innovative infrastructure project developer and investor which mobilises private investment in sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia. Its investments promote socio-economic development within a just transition to net zero emissions, combat poverty and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The group delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity and impact. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 190 infrastructure projects to financial close which provided an estimated 220 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. The group is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the Internal Finance Corporation (IFC).

At the Africa Energy Forum which was rounded off last week in Brussels, Belgium, a Letter of Intent in which both parties agreed to deepen their cooperation on the initiative was signed. PIDG on an indicative, non-binding basis, committed to allocate a total of $300 million towards the initiative.

AfDB’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of InfraCo, Gilles Vaes, who represented PIDG signed on behalf of the parties.

The signing was done during the section which featured as a side event at the Forum, under the theme, “Accelerating private sector investments in the G5 Sahel – leveraging the Desert to Power Financing Facility”. It was aimed at engaging the private sector on the financial resources needed for the innovative Desert to Power G5 Sahel Financing Facility, which forms part of the broader energy Initiative.



The event, moderated by the African Development Bank’s Director for Renewable Energy, Dr. Daniel Schroth, brought together senior representatives from beneficiary countries in the Sahel, development partners and the private sector.

The Facility aims to assist G5 Sahel countries, notably Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, to adopt a low-emission power generation pathway, by making use of the region’s abundant solar potential. It will focus on utility-scale solar generation through independent power producers and energy storage solutions.

These investments will be backed by a technical assistance component to enhance implementation capacity, strengthen the enabling environment for private sector investments, and ensure gender and climate mainstreaming.

Following the signing, Kariuki expressed hopes that the partnership between PIDG and the Bank would bring increased financing and expertise towards the realization of the Desert to Power initiative.

On his part, CEO of PIDG said he was delighted about the signing. “This will build on the existing partnership and further strengthen the collaboration between the Bank and PIDG on co-financing solar projects in the Sahel region”, he added.

The signing ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on how to increase private sector investments in the solar sector. Panellists included the Abdessalem Ould Mohamed Saleh, Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Mark Carrato, Power Africa Coordinator, Roland Janssens, Director, Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), and Hans Olav Kvalvaag, Senior Vice President New Ventures, Scatec.

Minister Saleh reiterated Mauritania’s firm commitment to the Desert to Power initiative and urged the private sector and partners to accelerate the delivery of the initiative.


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