The dream of greater clean energy supplies to West Africa has been given a boost as the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE)
and Akon Lighting Africa have agreed to collaborate in the provision of clean energy mini-grids across the ECOWAS region.
Co-founder of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative and President of Solektra International
Mr. Samba Bathily, made the disclosure during the High Level Panel of ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Policy and Investment Forum taking place in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire.
ECREEE and Akon Lighting Africa Initiative are also expected collaborate on relevant capacity building activities in favour of clean energy.
The initiative was launched in February 2014 by international music star, Akon, leader ThioneNiang and entrepreneur Samba Bathily. It aims to develop an innovative solar-powered solution that will provide African villages with access to a clean and affordable source of electricity while laying the foundations for future development.
Launching the Third Call of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Facility (EREF), which has a special focus on green mini-grids, Bathily noted that such initiatives had the potential to provide energy access to millions of African citizens quickly and more efficiently.
He affirmed Akon Lighting Africa Initiative’s willingness to support the implementation of the 3rd EREF Call by co-financing one clean energy mini-grid in each of the fifteen ECOWAS Member States.
Owing to the crucial role clean energy mini-grids play in the energy access growth in peri-urban and rural areas in West Africa and the huge success of the second EREF call, the third EREF Call aims to ensure further rollout of clean energy mini-grids with particular emphasis on supporting and promoting productive uses of electricity.
In addition, it would ensure the sustainability of the systems and poverty reduction. EREF 3 seeks to contribute to the achievement of the rural renewable energy targets of the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP), which foresees an increase in the share of the rural population served by off-grid renewable energy solutions to 22% by 2020 and 25% by 2030.
Based on this target, 60, 000 mini-grids and 128, 000 mini-grids would be implemented by 2020 and 2030 respectively.
At its initial stage, the EREF would provide grant co-funding for small and medium sized renewable energy and energy efficiency (RE&EE) projects and businesses in rural and peri-urban areas. The Facility provides non-reimbursable grants through regular demand driven competitive call for proposals managed by the ECREEE Secretariat.
It is also being supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the Austrian Ministry of Environment.
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