By Etuka Sunday
The African Development Bank and the Government of Nigeria have launched the National Electrification Project (NEP), to address critical energy access deficits by channeling private sector investments into mini grid and off-grid solutions.
The project, which will be implemented by Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency, is a boost to efforts to achieve the target of universal energy access by 2030.
Joint financing of $200 million from the Bank and Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) will de-risk and scale-up private sector investment in the off-grid sector, nurturing a business ecosystem conducive to the rapid electrification of Nigeria’s off-grid communities.
Speaking at the launch held Tuesday, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Power, Mr. Goddy Jedy Agba, thanked the African Development Bank for investing in the project, and highlighted its transformative potential.
“Imagine the impact a project like the NEP will have when it is replicated across rural communities in the country,” he said.
The Bank’s Acting Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, Wale Shonibare, outlined the expected development outcomes of the project.
“Over 500,000 people will have access to approximately 76.5 MW of increased installed power of which 68 MW will be solar generated,” he said.
Eight universities will have access to reliable energy, he added, and 150 female students will receive training on renewable energy solutions. In addition, 20,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) will be supplied with appliances and equipment.
Ebrima Faal, Senior Director for the African Development Bank in Nigeria, said the NEP and other Bank-supported energy projects had been carefully designed to ensure that Nigerians have better access to reliable, affordable and safe power.
The NEP is aligned with the African Development Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa (http://bit.ly/2TYJTWH) the High 5 priorities (http://bit.ly/3dbn1L0) and the Bank’s Climate Change Action Plan.
The project is also aligned with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Strategy and Implementation Plan (RESIP) and the Power Sector Recovery Programme, which has the objective of increasing private investments in the energy sector.