UK, France, Netherlands commit US$350m in support of Africa’s solar energy
AFRICA: France, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom have committed to invest US$350 million in solar energy and electricity storage in Africa, Afrik21 reported in September this year.
The strategic investment comes at a time when Africa is relying on renewable energy to provide access to electricity for its population.
Countries in sub-Saharan Africa will benefit from the new funds to improve electricity supply.
Of the three countries, the United Kingdom is the greatest financier of the US$350 million commitment.
The Dutch Government plans to invest $44 million to finance solar off-grid systems in sub-Saharan Africa.
It is a widely used solution in several countries, which aims to compensate for the weakness of national electricity grids.
The Dutch funding will also make it possible to provide off-grid to households, companies and public institutions.
For households in rural areas, solar home kits are quite widespread, thanks to private companies that are surfing on the mobile phone payment solution that is available almost everywhere, even in remote areas.
For its part, France, through the French Development Agency (AFD), plans to inject 55 million dollars.
The funds will be allocated to independent private investors (IPPs), who are developing small solar projects across the African continent.
The $100 million provided by France and The Netherlands is part of the Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) created to mitigate the risks associated with solar projects in Africa.
The ultimate objective is to address the political, technical and financial issues related to the increased deployment of solar energy, particularly in some low-income countries.
Theoretical reserves of Africa’s solar energy are estimated at 60,000,000 TWh/year.
These reserves account for almost 40% of the global total, thus definitely making Africa the most sun-rich continent in the world.
Despite the immense potential for cheap and clean sources of energy, the region has the lowest levels of access to energy in the world with over half of its population not having any access to electricity.
These bold investments by the UK, Netherlands and France will thus help Africa make significant steps towards achieving universal energy access for its inhabitants.