By Jimoh Babatunde
The African Development Bank has approved US$324 million in loan support to two renewable energy projects in Morocco and Côte d’Ivoire that are expected to significantly increase power supplies and keep economic growth track.
AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina stated that the approvals demonstrate once again the Bank’s leadership on renewable energy in Africa.
“These projects will be essential to achieving the countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) goals under the Paris Agreement. I believe this sends a strong message ahead of the One Planet Summit on Climate next week in Paris”.
Scaling up investments in energy, is the African Development Bank Group’s top High 5 priority, in a continent where more than 600 million people do not have access to electricity.
The New Deal on Energy for Africa is a partnership-driven effort with the aspirational goal of achieving universal access to energy in Africa by 2025.
For Morocco, the bank’s commitment of US$ 265 million will help develop two solar power plants (NOORM I and NOORM II) at a total cost of €2.048 billion with a cumulative capacity of 800 MW, under a public-private partnership (PPP).
The solar plants will be connected to the national grid, and will guarantee electricity supplies to more than 2 million Moroccans (approximately 6% of the country’s population) and significantly reduce CO2 emissions. The investment is part of the Bank’s continued support to Morocco’s US$ 3 billion NOOR solar energy program.
The Côte d’Ivoire project involves the design, construction and operation of a 44-MW hydropower plant on the Bandama River.
The country’s dynamic economy is exerting pressure on power supply, with demand projected to grow by 8-9% annually until 2020. To meet rising domestic and regional demand, Côte d’Ivoire intends to significantly raise its generation capacity, including hydropower.
The approval of both projects underscores the Bank’s focus on renewable energy in Africa.
This year alone the Bank’s investments will contribute 1.4 GW of additional generation capacity exclusively from renewable energy sources.