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World Bank invests $300m in West African solar

Africa has more hours of sunshine that any other continent (Hp.Baumeler/CC BY-SA 4.0)
The World Bank has approved a $311m finance package to support renewable energy generation in Togo, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Chad.

The bank said the loans will be spent on developing some 106MW of photovoltaic capacity, along with battery storage systems. There will also be 41MW of hydroelectric capacity, and a general improvement in transmission and distribution networks across the four countries.

West Africa has one of the lowest electrification rates and some of the highest electricity costs in sub-Saharan Africa, the bank said.

Rising oil prices have increased liabilities for utilities, it added, saying countries are “staring at an acute power supply crisis that threatens to upend their economic growth”.

Rhonda Jordan-Antoine, the World Bank’s task team leader for the project, said the money would “provide fiscal space for countries to address food [crises] resulting from the war in Ukraine”.

The money will be disbursed by the bank’s International Development Association arm, which offers concessional loans to the world’s poorest countries. 

The money is part of the bank’s Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (Respite), which aims to boost states’ grid-connected renewable energy and strengthen regional integration.

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