WEST AFRICAN COUNTRIES LAUNCH $311 MILLION ELECTRIFICATION INITIATIVE

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On Tuesday, representatives from Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo launched a $311 million electrification initiative called the Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE) that provides increasing grid-connected renewable capacity in West and Central African countries.

 

The initiative sponsored by the World Bank will finance the installation and operation of around 106MW of solar PV farms with battery energy storage systems (BESS).

 

It will also fund 41 MW of hydroelectric expansions and support power distribution and transmission interventions across the four countries.

 

According to the announcement made by the World Bank, the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) which is the fifth stakeholder will benefit from $20 million in funding to improve the potential for power trade in West Africa and to facilitate knowledge sharing among members of the ECOWAS.

 

The President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, was quoted in the statement, saying, “we are paying far more for energy now than we were 18 months ago. Very high and rising energy prices continue to have an adverse impact on other sectors of our economies”.

 

In West Africa, 220 million people live without access to electricity according to World Bank, and asides from having one of the lowest electrification rates, also it is being faced with some of the highest electricity costs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

 

President Julius added that “RESPITE is the beginning of a revolution in energy supply and access”, as it signifies “taking a bold step in the right direction”.

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