World Bank Approves $150 Million for Kenya to Provide Solar Energy in Underserved Northeastern Counties
The World Bank today approved an International Development Association (IDA)* credit of $150 million to enable marginalized communities in Kenya to access modern energy services through off-grid solar. Off-grid Solar Access Project for Underserved Counties will serve an estimated 1.3 million people in 277,000 households across 14 counties. It will reach homes, schools, health centers, with maximum private sector involvement and investment to ensure sustainability. Ten of the counties are located in the north and northeastern parts of Kenya as part of the North Eastern Development Initiative (NEDI). These include Garissa, Lamu, Mandera, Marsabit, Narok, Samburu, Tana River, Turkana, Wajir, and West Pokot. The other four that are not part of NEDI are Kwale,Kilifi, Narok, and Taita Taveta. “The Ministry appreciates this project which will go a long way in contributing to the achievement of one of the Government’s objective of attaining universal access to electrification by 2020,” said Hon. Charles Keter, E.G.H., Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum. “The uniqueness of this project, which entails collaboration of public and private sector, embedded operation and maintenance, as well as the innovative financing of the solar home system component, will be the hall mark of success in accelerating off-grid electrification, which has been hard to achieve. We appreciate the partnership and support of the World Bank in conceptualization and implementation of this project.”
The project will use a combination of investments to provide modern energy services, to households, businesses and community facilities using practical business models that attract private sector investment, knowledge, sustainable services and other key efficiencies. The project will include a substantial technical assistance component that will enable a consumer education campaign to inform and engage with citizens around the project. The technical assistance will also enable an inclusive county capacity building program to be identified through an assessment. “The World Bank is committed to supporting the growth of Kenya’s underserved areas through linking homes, communities and the businesses that serve them to clean and renewable energy sources,” said Diarietou Gaye, World Bank Country Director for Kenya. “By connecting 1.3 million people to off-grid solar energy, these counties can begin harnessing the fruits of devolution by opening avenues for creation of more businesses and job opportunities.”
The program is fully aligned with the World Bank Group’s Kenya Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and it also supports the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.