The African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), has granted a USD5.5-million technical assistance grant to commence the roll-out of the flagship ‘Desert to Power’ initiative in the Eastern Sahel region countries of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan.
The grant funding for the initiative known as the East Africa Regional Energy Project, will be financed through the ADF-15 Regional Public Good window. The initiative aims to deploy 10 GW of solar, and provide electricity to around 250 million people in 11 countries of the Sahel region, viz. Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan, by 2030. The grant would help in carrying out technical studies for regional solar parks and battery storage close to regional high voltage electricity interconnectors. It would also aid in improving the technical capacity of the implementing agency, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD)—a trade bloc grouping governments from the Horn of Africa, Nile Valley and the Great Lakes region. The East Africa Regional Energy Project marks the second phase of the Desert to Power project. It follows on the approval of the West Africa Regional Energy Project by AfDB in July 2021, wherein the latter had approved a grant worth USD6 million for launching the initial phase of the Desert to Power West Africa Regional Energy Programme.