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G5 Sahel Summit: AfDB, partners to raise $20bn for Desert to Power initiative

The African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to raise at least $20 billion from development partners to execute it’s Desert to Power initiative.

The “Desert to Power” initiative spans 11 countries: Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Djibouti, Senegal and Chad is expected to have a significant impact on the standard of living of 250 million people across the region.

AfDB said the goal of the initiative is to install 10 gigawatts of solar capacity between now and 2030, which will take a big step towards the achievement of its  High 5 Goals, since access to energy cuts across all Africa’s development needs.

It is also in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative.

President of the AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, disclosed this as he arrived Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, ahead of the G5 Sahel Summit.

The Burkinabe President, Mark Rock Christian Kaborè, while receiving Adesina, applauded the bank’s Desert to Power initiative, and also highlighted his country’s excellent relationship with the AfDB, expressing satisfaction with the portfolio of projects being implemented.

Adesina is an invited guest at the G5 Sahel Summit of heads of state and government.

In a statement, AfDB said Adesina for his part, praised President Kaboré’s commitment, vision and leadership in agreeing to host the summit.

He stressed the importance of political will in the success of the “Desert to Power” initiative, whose goal is to guarantee universal access to electricity for over 60 million people through solar energy.

According  to the bank, it will also provide an opportunity to strengthen the south-south partnership as well as stimulate worldwide involvement in the initiative beyond the G5 Sahel countries.

The two presidents also discussed issues relating to the cotton sector, and agreed on a policy of strengthening the domestic cotton industry, so important for the economy of Burkina Faso.

The AfDB’s president also expressed his sympathies for the terrorist acts that Burkina Faso has recently suffered and reaffirmed the Bank’s support to the country.

President Adesina has drawn attention to the paradox that one of the world’s sunniest regions lacks access to electricity:

“Now, more than ever, cooperation and cross-border trade in energy are essential to maintaining a secure supply over the long term given the challenges of climate change,” he said, adding that “in Burkina Faso, significant steps have been taken with the bank-supported Yeleen Rural Electrification project.”

As part of its electrification strategy for Africa, the AfDB is firmly committed to accelerating access to high quality, low cost energy for the continent’s people, said Adesina.

Critical network connections have been approved by the Bank’s Board: Mali-Guinea, Nigeria-Niger-Benin-Burkina Faso and Chad-Cameroon.

The G5 Sahel is a strategic framework for regional cooperation created in 2014.

This Article was originally published on the SUN

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