By Victoria Ojeme
Power Africa, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has voted $2,620,650 to provide off-grid electricity to nearly 300 healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nearly 60 percent of all healthcare facilities in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, and of those that do, only 34 percent of hospitals and 28 percent of health clinics have reliable, 24-hour access.
Energy is critical for powering essential devices, medical and sterilization equipment, diagnostics, cold storage for vaccines and medication, information technology, and lights to enable the delivery of continuous health care services.
The project will be implemented by the following solar energy companies: Havenhill Synergy Ltd. (Nigeria), KYA-Energy Group (Togo), Muhanya Solar Ltd. (Zambia), Nanoé (Madagascar), OffGridBox (Rwanda), OnePower (Lesotho), PEG Solar (Ghana), SolarWorks! (Mozambique) and Zuwa Energy (Malawi).
“Solar energy holds great potential to expand and improve health care delivery in sub-Saharan Africa, and off-grid solar technology offers a clean, affordable, and smart solution to electrify healthcare facilities located beyond the reach of national electricity grids,” said Mark Carrato, Power Africa Acting Coordinator.
He said “Power Africa’s experience shows that off-grid solar energy systems can be rapidly deployed to even the most rural facilities.”
“These awards demonstrate what we can accomplish when the public and private sectors join together to break down the barriers to reliable electricity for rural healthcare facilities,” said Chris Milligan, Counselor to USAID, on September 22, 2020 during a virtual event announcing the grant awardees.
Havenhill Synergy will electrify 21 rural healthcare facilities in Oyo State, Nigeria, using an energy-as-a-service business model. The facilities are mostly within peri-urban communities with limited reliable electricity access. Havenhill will provide long-term operation and maintenance of the solar energy systems.
“Through these grants, USAID is investing in a set of pilot projects that demonstrate how healthcare electrification can be delivered in a commercially sustainable manner, with strong private sector involvement,” said David Stonehill, the Lead for Power Africa’s Beyond the Grid initiative.
“These grants demonstrate the Power Africa model in action: We use a modest amount of public funding to de-risk transactions, thus opening the door for private investment.”