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G5 Sahel heads of State Support African Development Bank initiative Desert to power

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G5 Sahel heads of state at a Summit on Friday in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, gave strong support to Desert to Power, an Africa Development Bank-led initiative.

The summit, “Harnessing solar energy for the socio-economic development of the G5 Sahel countries” came on the heels of a high-level technical meeting attended by the region’s energy ministers, and development partners including the World Bank, Agence Française de Développement, Masen (Moroccan Solar Energy Agency), and regional institutions such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union and ECOWAS.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, participated in the high-level meeting and endorsed the initiative.

Addressing journalists, the G5 Sahel President Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso urged the private sector to support the Desert to Power and underscored the strategic and critical role of power provision in the Sahel region.

“The African Development Bank is our bank and the private sector must be involved in this important initiative for our countries. I have no doubt that with technical leadership of the AfDB, we will be able to mobilize the necessary funds. Access to electricity is key for the economic development, prosperity and security of the G5 Sahel countries” Kabore said at a joint press conference hosted with the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, after the Summit.

The goal of Desert to Power is to propel the Sahelian economies to higher growth and prosperity.

Adesina outlined the initiative’s ambitions of providing 10,000 MW of solar-generated electricity to 250 million people across the Sahel.

“The African Development Bank is fully ready to work with all partners to make this Baobab of Energy a success. Your strong political support and policies to make solar energy affordable across the Sahel will be critical,” Adesina said.

“Generations of people in the Sahel have waited for light for too long. Generations today and in the future can wait no longer! The time for action is now. The time for Desert to Power to provide electricity for all in the Sahel is now,” he urged.

G5 Sahel heads of state acknowledged that limited energy access and a dependence on fossil fuels underscores the necessity of an energy shift and the need to accelerate the economic development of the region and ensure its stability.

Five priority areas for the G5 Sahel include  expanded utility-scale solar generation capacity; extending and strengthening power transmission networks; accelerating electrification through decentralized energy solutions; revitalizing national power utilities; and improving business climates for increased private sector investments.

A joint Task Force and a coordination unit, to be hosted by the African Developmemnt Bank, will be set up to improve legal and institutional frameworks, to ensure that priority in energy provision is given to rural communities.

Donor and development partners were asked to help mobilise $140 million for the initiatives project preparation phase.

Desert to Power has already galvanized huge political support at the global level. during the recent G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.

The Desert to Power initiative covers 11 countries: Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Djibouti, Senegal and Chad and is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Renewable Energy Initiative for Africa.

Also Read Prioritizing A Traditionally Underserved Somaliland Population Over Profit – Adan Abbey

“If the Sahel is blessed with this super abundant natural resource, it simply means God intended for us to have electricity. 100% through the sun. it is, therefore, time to turn the Sahel’s largest natural resource – the sun – into the most powerful driver of its growth and prosperity. That is why we are here,” Adesina said.

African Development Bank

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Cameroon: Three power plants financed by the African Development Bank to reduce power cuts

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Image credit: African Development Bank

For many years, Cameroon’s national electricity supply has been notoriously unreliable and subject to power cuts. The last significant electric system outage, which lasted eight hours, occurred last March and affected several of the country’s regions (the Far North, North, Littoral, Adamaoua, South and Centre regions).

However, three projects financed by the African Development Bank for $121.4 million in 2010-2011 are at last starting to provide long-suffering Cameroonians with much more reliable electricity.

Completion of work on transport lines, line maintenance and especially the replacement of wooden electricity transport poles with concrete poles are all part of the system improvements, whose goal is to increase the quality and reliability of public access to electricity.

The Lom Panga storage reservoir project is complete, but the dam’s generating plant is still under construction. In the meantime, two other power plants, Kribi and Dibamba, have begun working  to strengthen Cameroon’s generating capacity.

In November 2011, the African Development Bank awarded $62.9 million for the construction of Lom-Pangar, the hydroelectric generation’s ‘lungs’ in the country’s East region. The project included the construction of a reservoir (6 billion cubic meters of water retained) for regulating the Sanaga’s flow and optimising generation during low water periods at the Song Loulou plant (335 MW) and the Edea plant (224 MW). The production from these two plants has grown from 450 MW in 2011 to 729 MW now.

A 30 MW hydroelectric generating plant is under construction at the base of the dam. It will be linked to the Bertoua thermal plant by a 105 km 90kV line that should start to work in May 2021 following the installation of an evacuation station and the construction of its four turbines. Lom-Pangar will provide electricity to 150 locations in the region and will significantly reduce power cuts in the area.

“The Lom-Pangar dam will help save water in other reservoirs,” said Theodore Nsangou, the General Director of the Electricity Development Corporation (EDC), in an interview with a government publication in March 2018.

The 216 MW capacity Kribi gas-fired generating plant began to work in 2013 after receiving $32.8 million from the African Development Bank in July 2011 for an expansion project. Its production goal is 330 MW. Currently, the power plant has a 100 km 225 kV transport line connecting it with the Magombe substation in the Edea region in the country’s South region. The plant operates with natural gas (with light fuel oil as emergency backup) from the Sagana South offshore gas field.

During the dry season, the Kribi plant and its nine simple cycle gas turbines are truly the system’s “oxygen”, maintaining the country’s energy flow, particularly to the South’s interconnected system, which receives its electricity from Kribi.

The Kribi gas-fired generating plant and the Dibamba generating plant provide access to electricity for close to half of Cameroon’s population.

The Dibamba heavy fuel oil generating plant was also designed to meet the serious problem of power cuts during the dry season. It was the first of the three plants to receive financial support from the African Development Bank of $25.6 million in April 2010. Built to mitigate the country’s shortage of electricity, high demand quickly outpaced its capacity the day after it began operations.

Located in the outskirts of Douala, Cameroon’s second largest city, Dibamba is an 86 MW thermal generating plant with a 2 km 90 kV transport line linked to the network serving the most remote and densely populated areas in the country’s West region.

Also Read Interview: African Energy Chamber Executive Chairman, NJ Ayuk on Transforming Africa’s Energy Sector

With an estimated 23,000 MW hydroelectric production capacity, Cameroon has the second largest hydroelectric potential in Africa and the 18th largest worldwide. The country plans to complete the development of its hydroelectric industries by 2035. Construction of the Nachtigal hydroelectric generating plan began in 2019 and will be complete in about five years, with an estimated generating capacity of 420 MW.

The African Development Bank has awarded a funding package of $154.8 million for the completion of this generating plant. Other development partners, such as the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and Proparco, are also involved.

African Development Bank

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UNDP, Sahara Group Target Energy Access To 10 Million Households In Africa

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New York, USA: September 24, 2019- The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Sahara Group have unveiled the Africa Renewable Energy Forum to boost access to sustainable energy for 10 million households in Africa through alternative energy initiatives and interventions.

Launched at the margins of the 74th UN General Assembly in New York, the Africa Renewable Energy Forum is expected to bolster ongoing partnership between UNDP and the Sahara Group that aims to create access to clean and affordable energy in Africa.

The forum will serve as a platform for policy discussions, multi-stakeholder collaboration and funding towards implementation of tailored renewable energy solutions across the continent. Ultimately, the platform will galvanise the political momentum needed to record significant progress through strong partnerships, effective regulation and mutual accountability.

The event had senior officials from both organisations in attendance including, Ahunna Eziakonwa, Regional Director and Assistant Secretary General for UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, as Kola Adesina, Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Pearl Uzokwe, Director, Governance and Sustaianability, Sahara Group, Bethel Obioma, Head Corporate Communications, Sahara Group and Babatomiwa Adesida, Private Sector Engagement Specialist, Sahara Foundation.

Cross section of delegates during the launch of the Africa Renewable Energy Forum in New York, USA at the sideline of the ongoing 74th UNGA.

Africa has the highest percentage of untapped hydropower potential in the world, with only 11% utilization capacity. Whilst the global electrification rate reached 89% in 2018 and 153m people gained access to electricity (WB Stats, May 2019), the biggest challenge remains in the most remote areas globally and sub-Saharan Africa in particular, where an estimated 573m people are not connected to grid power.

With over 600 million Africans having no access to electricity, Ahunna Eziakonwa said the continent urgently needs to embrace renewable energy sources to sustainably connect the poorest and hardest to reach households. “Access to energy will enhance the cause of poverty alleviation and also yield huge benefits for education, healthcare, production, and socio-economic development. The UNDP-Sahara partnership is extremely crucial as it will provide a model for engaging a wide range of stakeholders to address the continent’s energy challenge in line with the SDG framework,” Ahunna stated.

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

Kola Adesina said the initiative has the potential to create over one million jobs in Africa as the continent continues its march towards achieving the 2030 SDG Agenda. “Renewable energy is still in its infancy as far as Africa is concerned. We need unrelenting awareness initiatives to inspire a mindset shift to renewable energy in Africa with the various governments, private sector and development agencies leading the charge. At Sahara Group we believe that interventions like the UNDP-Sahara partnership will enhance productivity and shared prosperity in Africa.”

Sahara Group

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Jeff Goodrich Says New Book Billions at Play, Provides Solutions for African Energy Self-Sufficiency

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, September 16, 2019 – Natural gas can help Africa bring power to the people. It just has to be harnessed appropriately and not wasted or exported.

That is the premise of Chapter 5 of Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy, the new book by leading African energy attorney, NJ Ayuk. And it is a message that Jeff Goodrich, former CEO of OneLNG, supports.

OneLNG was a joint venture between liquified natural gas (LNG) shipping company, Golar LNG, and Schlumberger, the global oilfield services giant. While financing issues hampered OneLNG’s attempts to develop Africa’s first deep-water floating liquid natural gas (FLING) project with London-based Ophir Energy, the project principals, including Goodrich, recognized LNG’s potential to monetize Africa’s offshore natural gas reserves.

“In the chapter entitled Abundant, Accessible, Affordable: The “Golden Age” of Natural Gas Shines in Africa, Ayuk correctly identifies the benefits of natural gas, especially as the world looks for ways to lower CO2 emissions,” Goodrich said. “He also takes aim at some of the issues the African natural gas industry has to confront, namely flaring and the export of product that could be well-used at home.”

Despite advances in electrification, much of Africa is still plunged into darkness each evening. Using natural gas as a reliable source to generate electricity would change that. It would also reduce the reliance on sources like animal dung for cooking—a method that is linked to respiratory diseases.

“It is incredible to think that in this day and age, there are nearly a billion people in sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity, but that is a reality Ayuk does not shy away from,” Goodrich said. “Rather than running from the problem, he puts forth a number of realistic solutions that anyone who cares about making Africa more self-sufficient will be eager to hear. I think his ideas will resonate especially with readers who agree with Ayuk that an oversaturated global export market makes this the best time to advance intra-African energy trading and focus on regional markets.”

Also Read Lillian Barnard: Tech Enthusiast And First Female Managing Director, Microsoft South Africa

NJ Ayuk is founder and CEO of Pan-African corporate law conglomerate, Centurion Law Group (https://CenturionLG.com) and Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. He is also the co-author of Big Barrels: African Oil and Gas and the Quest for Prosperity (2017).

He is recognized as one of the foremost figures in African business today.

Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy will be published by October 2019. Pre-order your copy here.

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