Blended finance to help 200m households gain electricity access

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    New technology and blended finance will help to bridge the “last mile” of the infrastructure gap by getting goods and services to end users, connecting underserved populations to business value chains.

    This is according to the African Development Bank (AfDB) who presented a session at the Global Infrastructure Forum 2018 over the weekend.

    This year’s forum themed Unlocking Inclusive, Resilient, and Sustainable Technology-driven Infrastructure, took place on 13 October 2018, on the sidelines of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund annual meetings.

    The “last mile” was a crucial topic of discussion during a main panel session of the Global Infrastructure Forum 2018, entitled Achieving the last mile through technology.

    Wale Shonibare, AfDB’s director for energy financial solutions, policy and regulation, assured that the bank’s commitment to connect millions of households under its New Deal On Energy For Africa – is a core component of its Light Up Africa High 5 development priorities.

    He underlined that for this goal to be achieved, it requires flexibility and innovation from both a technology and financial perspective.

    “We are looking to connect 200 million households to electricity – 75 million of those will be off-grid,” Shonibare, said. Read more: East Africa’s regional integration plan approved

    “Conventional grids cost, on average, $2,500 per connection in rural communities, whereas mini-grids cost between $500-1,000 per connection,” he added.

    Off-grid energy sector

    In Cote d’Ivoire, the bank’s approval of a credit guarantee covering part of a guaranteed loan facility to Zola EDF Côte d’Ivoire (ZECI), a 50/50 joint venture between Off-Grid Electric and EDF, paved the way for the pair to provide access to approximately 100,000 rural households with pay-as-you-go solar home systems by 2020.

    This operation is the first large-scale local currency financing structure using the securitisation technique for the off-grid renewable energy sector in Africa.

    Energy projects in Rwanda and Nigeria which had obtained bank approval were additional examples of the AfDB partnering with the private sector to bring service to end users in innovative ways, Shonibare said.