IFC, World Bank Announce Plans for Off-Grid Electricity in Nigeria

December 7, 2015Nigeriaby EW News Desk Team

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The World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) have announced plans to create an off-grid solar power system for Nigeria. World Bank and IFC have dubbed the program "Lighting Africa," and it will unite private sector interests with public entities to help build sustainable infrastructure and markets for solar-powered products. People who live in areas that do not presently have grid-supplied power will serve as the key focus of the program.

According to The Sun, the program should bridge the gap between areas with access to power provided by the grid and those that have no access, leveling the opportunities available to the inhabitants of each region. This, in turn, should create opportunities for rural Nigerians to advance economically by simply providing the means to have affordable, clean, and safe lighting.

For its part, Nigeria recently took the step of approving and financing a number of companies interested in providing solar-powered lighting solutions to end users. However, IFC/World Bank Market Development for Lighting Africa Project Mr. Fanen Acho cautioned that the initiative would not serve just the poor. Rather, it serves as an investment in a market that should grow on its own over the next few years as end users realize the value of these products and begin seeking them out on their own.

According to Acho, Lighting Africa uses the private sector to build and develop the markets necessary to support the continuing use of these off-grid power solutions. The program fosters partnerships with both local and international manufacturers while simultaneously creating new channels to help build out supply chains and demand from potential buyers.

Acho said of the program: ''As we foster these partnerships among all parties in the industry, various opportunities would be explored and our goal of inclusive electrification would be achieved in Nigeria."

The Lighting Africa plan also dovetails nicely into the World Bank Group's Energy Business Plan. Under the Energy Business Plan, the World Bank should use its financial power to leverage borrowers into making decisions and investing in solutions that encourage nations' economic viability and contribute to green solutions for sustainable power. In Nigeria's case, the plan should also underpin the government's ambitious push towards privatization of more sectors in its economy and its overall economic reform program.

Lighting Africa represents a cornerstone of the Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP). Global LEAP is a program designed by the Clean Energy Ministerial, a global forum for best practices, policies, and programs that encourage nations' transition to a cleaner global energy economy.

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