AfDB approves US$20mn facility for green mini-grid programme in Congo

congo mini gridThe African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved US$20mn loans to support renewable-based, mini-grid solutions to the off-grid cities of Isiro, Bumba and Genema in Congo

The Green Mini-Grid Programme is expected to serve as the pilot to an innovative private-led electrification approach to deploy renewable-based mini-grid solutions in the central African nation. The programme will supply power to cities with sizeable populations, some of them with a few hundred thousand inhabitants, without any access to modern energy.

With limited grid coverage - around 10 per cent nationally - many Congolese rely on kerosene or diesel fuel for their lamps, cookers and electricity generators. Less than one per cent of rural and 35 per cent of urban areas have access to electricity from the national grid. Sub-Saharan Africa averages 24.6 per cent on-grid electricity coverage.

AfDB’s financing will complement the UK’s Department for International Development-backed Essor - Access to Electricity (A2E) initiative, which is a technical assistance program that supports the Government-led mini-grid auction and project preparation. The DFID support seeks to promote the proliferation of private-led green mini-grid projects in the DRC.

The Bank will provide a blend of private and concessional resources notably from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and other development partners to the sponsors/consortia that will be selected in the auction process.

The Bank is providing a US$1mn Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) grant to provide advisory services to the Government of Congo for the procurement of solar PV mini-grid systems. The advisory services also encompass mini-grid regulatory framework development, project feasibility studies, extensive policy and regulatory level engagement.

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