AfDB approves $20 million for solar off-grid projects in DRC

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $20 million grant to finance a solar off-grid electrification program in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

According to Amadou Hott, AfDB Vice President in charge of Electricity, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, this innovative project will hopefully demonstrate the viability and interest of the private sector to finance mini-grid projects that will lead to a market on the continent.

The bank hopes to replicate the model once the pilot project has proven its worth, he said.

In DRC, the program will begin with the installation of three off- grids in the locality of d’Isiro in Haut-Uele province, in Bumba in Equateur and in Genema in Sud-Ubangi. These installations will have capacities ranging from 3 MW to 10 MW.

According to AfDB, these solar parks will provide energy to 21,200 households and 2,100 small businesses.

Late last month, the DRC has received a credit of $83.11 million from Exim Bank of India to finance the construction of three solar power plants with a combined capacity of 35 MW in the north and center of the country.

The energy inputs from these facilities will enable the Democratic Republic of Congo of more than 65 million inhabitants to increase its electricity supply.

The Central African nation, despite an installed capacity of 2,500 MW and a potential estimated at 100,000 MW, has only 1,000 MW of electricity for an electrification rate of only 14%.

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