The RIMDIR Green Mini Grid Electrification Project in Mauritania got a big financial boost earlier this month when the African Development Bank (AfDB) announced it would provide an approximately $15.8 million (EUR 14.4 million) grant to the project.
The funds will be used to construct seven minigrids in the southeast region of Mauritania, which is on the west coast of Africa. The minigrids will electrify 40 local communities and benefit close to 30,000 people.
A minigrid, which is sometimes referred to as a remote microgrid, is typically a faster, cheaper and more reliable way of delivering electricity to remote communities that do not have access to a central grid.
RIMDIR, a French Development Agency and World Bank joint program, is focused on building minigrids to provide sustainable electrification and development in three rural provinces in southeast Mauritania.
The program aims to improve electric reliability, cut energy costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the resilience of the local communities, which are largely agricultural. The grant funds will be used for income generating activities, fostering economic growth in the communities.
As of 2021, just under 48% of Mauritania’s population had access to electricity, according to the Africa Energy Portal – that number falls below 4% for the country’s rural population.
“The project supports our policy of universal access to electricity by 2030 and an energy transition to promote economic growth, particularly in rural areas,” said Nani Ould Chrougha, Mauritania’s Minister of Energy. “The RIMDIR project illustrates the remarkable work of the Desert to Power initiative in our country."
Reliable electricity leads to economic development
The grant’s funding comes from the AfDB’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) and is part of the bank’s flagship Desert to Power (DtP) program.
DtP’s goal is to turn the Sahel region of Africa into one of the largest solar production zones in the world by installing 10 GW of capacity by 2030. DtP is expected to deliver electricity access and economic development opportunities to more than 250 million people in 11 countries, including Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mauritania, Nigeria and Chad.
“RIMDIR constitutes a concrete step towards implementing the Desert to Power National Roadmap for Mauritania, underscoring SEFA’s role as the primary vehicle for financing Desert to Power projects,” said Daniel Schroth, director of renewable energy and energy efficiency at the African Development Bank.
Minigrid funding continues to flow in Africa
AfDB’s grant for the RIMDIR project is another example of the recent influx of investments in minigrid projects across Africa.
In October, Husk Power announced it had secured more than $100 million in equity and debt financing to expand its solar minigrid operations across sub-Saharan Africa.
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