African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina used the global stage of COP26 to rally support for the flagship Desert to Power project, which aims to provide solar electricity to 250 million people across 11 Sahel countries.

The project recently received $150 million in concessional resources from the Green Climate Fund and a $20 million grant from Sweden.

At a high-level event held on 4 November, Adesina acknowledged partner contributions and highlighted progress made. He said: “I am most certainly not interested in planting flags. I am very interested in things that we can do together that will create transformative change in Africa. Desert to Power is what I call the baobab of projects. It will require all of our efforts if we are to effect change.”

The event brought together representatives from the G5 Sahel countries, development partners and private sector representatives to discuss how to accelerate implementation of the initiative. In their remarks, the Ministers of Energy of Mali, Lamine Seydou Traore, and Mauritania, Abdessalem Ould Mohamed Saleh, reiterated their strong support for Desert to Power and praised the close collaboration with the project’s taskforce.

“I am delighted to see that you are all committed to supporting this initiative. We will need more partners, investors, concessional loans, and guarantees to reduce the risk of investing in this region. We will need to reinforce the Green Wall in the region and that is why I am calling on you to come together elbow-to-elbow to make the baobab connection. Let’s do it!” Adesina said.

Desert to Power is the Bank’s renewable energy and economic development initiative to light up and power the Sahel region by building 10GW of electricity capacity through solar energy systems, as well as grid and off-grid projects, by 2030. The Desert to Power COP26 event was designed to create awareness and promote strategic solar investments in the Sahel countries to combat the impacts of climate change.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD), Remy Rioux, lauded the African Development Bank for its role in articulating the continent’s vision and reiterated AFD’s strong support for Desert to Power.

Reiterating his organisation’s support for the initiative, Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director, Green Climate Fund, described it as an innovative and forward-thinking project that will address energy needs, and “contribute to peace and security in the Sahel.”

Sweden’s Minister for International Development Cooperation,

Dr. Ali Orozi Sougui, Petroleum and Energy Advisor to the Presidency of the Republic of Chad; Paddy Padmanathan, Chief Executive Officer, ACWA Power; Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank; Joseph Ng’ang’a, Managing Director, Energy Africa, for the Rockefeller Foundation, and Andrew Herscowitz, Chief Development Officer of the US Development Finance Corporation, participated in a panel discussion. Discussions included mechanisms for overcoming hurdles to renewable energy investments in the Sahel, such as regulatory frameworks, currency fluctuation, institutional inertia, political stability and insecurity.

In closing remarks, Dr. Kevin Kariuki, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate & Green Growth at the African Development Bank, said it would take the concerted efforts of both the public and private sectors to accelerate the implementation of the Desert to Power Initiative. He added that the Bank would continue to work closely with the private sector and the governments of the G5 Sahel countries to address and help remove barriers that hinder private sector investment.


Get free monthly subscription news in oil and gas industry
*Please enter a valid email address Subscribe Me

Please wait....

Thank you for subscribing...