World Bank Initiates Bold Reforms to Boost Electrification of Africa

During the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group, a forum on ‘Energizing Africa’ was held on 17 April 2024. The challenge is huge, and the goal is to give access to electricity to 600 million Africans with an average electrification rate of just 10% in Sub-Saharan African. Another way to look at the issue is how to reach the UN #SDG 7, or to provide universal access to energy in Africa.

During the ‘Energizing Africa’ event, a plan to power at least 300 millions of Africans by 2030 was laid out. The World Bank will connect 250 millions and the African Development Bank will take care of another 50 millions. To achieve its laudable target, the World Bank is undertaking deep reforms and revamping financing to African countries.

“No economy can grow in the dark! No economy can industrialize in the dark! No economy can be competitive in the dark!”

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina
Electrification Map of Africa
Electrification Map of Africa

It is worth noting that at #COP28 Dubai in 2023, the World Bank announced the goal to connect 100 million to electricity by 2030. It was estimated that this previous target would necessitate at least USD 5 billion in financing, so this new goal — which is more ambitious — would certainly require much more. But money does not seem to be the main issue, and World Bank Group President Ajay Banga believes the problem lies elsewhere.

Firstly, Banga announced that the project approval process has been streamlined from 19 to 16 months. Actually, Banga’s eventual goal is to compress the timeframe to just 12 months by mid-2025.

Secondly, Banga is designating one dedicated person for each country. He will be splitting the Country Manager positions among the officials of the institutions within the World Bank Group, viz, the International Finance Corporation (#IFC), the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (#IBRD) and the International Development Association (#IDA) to allow for a single focal point of contact for each country.

“One-third of your employees will be happy, one-third will ‘wish you would die,’ and one-third will be on the fence. The goal is to win over that final third. You don’t want to destroy their sense of pride in what they’ve achieved. You want to point them toward a new challenge and a new direction in the future.”

WB Group President Ajay Banga

The Inga Dam is also known to be able to supply at least one-third of all of Africa energy needs with a green and renewable source. Similarly, the Sahara Desert enjoys bright sunshine almost throughout the year. If properly harnessed, the Sahara Desert could provide Africa, and even Europe, with renewable energy via #PV.

It is worth highlighting that Africa possesses the #CriticalMinerals necessary for the #EnergyTransition towards #NetZero. To set the ball rolling, the WB, AfDB and the AU plan to organize a Summit to focus on the Electrification of Africa as a step in devising a roadmap to realize the vision. It is indeed a shame that a continent, so well endowed with energy resources, is still ‘left in the dark.’