• Monday, June 24, 2024
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REA launches minigrid programme to expand energy access across Nigeria

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has launched the Africa Minigrids Programme (AMP), a four-year project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria, aimed at unocking clean access across Nigeria.

The programme is aimed at supporting clean energy by increasing the financial viability, and promoting scaled up commercial investment, in renewable energy mini-grids, with a focus on cost-reduction levers and innovative business models.

Active in 21 African countries, the Nigeria national project implemented by the REA, is the first to commence implementation following the official launch at an inception workshop hosted in collaboration with representatives from the UNDP, GEF, Federal Ministries of Power, Environment and Agriculture as well as other key stakeholders in the rural development space.

The Africa Minigrids Program in Nigeria is designed as an enabler project of the REA’s Energising Agriculture Programme (EAP) which aims to advance one of REA’s strategic priorities of focusing on the unserved and underserved to increase economic opportunities through agriculture and productive sectors in rural communities across the country. This objective is in line with the mandate of the REA to catalyse economic growth and improve quality of life for rural Nigerians.

Speaking at the launch, Mohamed Yahya, the UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria said, “access to reliable, sustainable, affordable energy is a catalyst to socio-economic development, and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

The GEF Operational Focal Point at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Jonah Stanley, said the programme is “central to issues such as security, climate change, food production and strengthening economies while protecting ecosystems.”

Read also: Nigeria grows sales of solar products by 38% to 628,000 in one year

While commending the collaborative spirit of the Agency’s partners and stakeholders that enabled the activation of the programme, Ahmad Salihijo, the Managing Director / CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), said “the programme will serve as another catalyst for improved access to sustainable energy and equitable and inclusive impact on livelihoods by unlocking agricultural value addition opportunities from electrification.”

He further added that “this sectoral approach is in line with the Agency’s focus on programmes to advance the electrification targets and broader social and economic development objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

To give effect to some of its initiatives, REA has obtained financing amounting to $550 million ($350 million from the World Bank and $200 million from the African Development Bank) for financing the Nigeria Electrification Project, and an additional $11 million for financing the Rural Electrification Fund for the deployment of Solar hybrid mini grids and solar home systems. These funds will ensure that millions of Nigerians have access to clean, safe, reliable, and affordable electricity.

The Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) in Nigeria will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 13 (Climate Action) and 5 (Gender Equality) with an estimate of 70,063 direct project beneficiaries out of which 34,559 are women. The lifetime global environmental benefit is estimated at 74.2 ktCO2e.