To increase Nigeria’s access to electricity, the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) signed a partnership deal with the Africa Mini-Grid Developers Association (AMDA) to boost mini-grid development in Nigeria.
Speaking during the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Abuja, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, managing director of REA noted that the partnership is in furtherance of the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP) which has delivered over 100 mini-grids across Nigeria.
The REA, tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities to catalyze economic growth and improve quality of life for Nigerians, is currently implementing the Rural Electrification Fund (REF), Capital Projects, Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), Solar Power Naija (SPN), Energizing Education Programme (EEP), Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI), Energizing Agriculture Programme (EAP), Energy for All – Mass Rural Electrification and Research and Innovation Hub among others.
According to Ahmad, Nigeria has one of the largest mini-grid markets in Africa, with over 100 mini-grids currently in operation primarily through the implementation of data-driven programs and initiatives of the Agency, adding that due to the energy access gap in the country, there is still a significant need for more decentralized energy interventions to bridge the energy deficit and catalyze socio-economic growth, particularly in rural underserved, and underserved communities hard hit with energy poverty.
He said, “We are excited to partner with AMDA to improve the development of mini-grids in Nigeria further while deepening the impact of RE solutions for socio-economic growth. This MOU will further aid the accelerated deployment of mini-grids and provide clean, sustainable, and affordable electricity to more Nigerians.
“As part of the REA’s Vision and Strategic Roadmap, the Agency has, over the years, expanded its partnership portfolio, while collaborating with forward-leaning stakeholders across the off-grid energy value chain. With the pivotal role and sustained impact of AMDA in Africa’s renewable energy space, the REA – AMDA partnership is a significant step forward for the mini-grid sector in Nigeria as it underscores a shared commitment to research, data-driven decision-making, and the establishment of robust industry standards.
“With a partnership now sealed through a Memorandum of Understanding, the REA and AMDA will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis to further advance access to sustainable electricity for Nigerians and other African countries through mini-grids and decentralized utilities, and ultimately achieve universal access to energy by the year 2030.”
While improving data-driven decision-making and industry knowledge in the off-grid space, the MoU aims to promote sustainable energy access for unserved and underserved communities through private sector development and financing, which will ultimately enhance policies/regulations and rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies.
According to him, it is a strategic approach critical in ensuring the sustainable, secure, and optimal operation of mini-grid systems, thereby contributing to the overall energy landscape in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Olamide Niyi-Afuye, the CEO of AMDA said that mini-grids can potentially transform the lives of millions of Nigerians, adding that the partnership is a step in the right direction.
“AMDA is committed to working with all stakeholders to create an enabling environment for the minigrid sector to scale and achieve sustainability.
“A timely and impact-focused collaboration, the REA-AMDA MoU signifies a significant milestone in the development of mini-grids across Nigeria. It equally exemplifies the unified efforts between the public and private sectors working in lockstep towards the common goal of providing clean, reliable, safe, and affordable electricity for all,” he said.