The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Republic of Sudan on February 28, 2013 signed an agreement for a grant of US $0.34 million to the National Energy Research Centre (NERC) to undertake Capacity Building and Assessment of Options for Increasing Access to Energy in Sudan.
The ceremony was held at the Ministry of Finance and National Economy (MoFNE) under the auspices of the Undersecretary, Yousif Elhussein, who signed on behalf of the Government. Several director generals and technical experts from both the MoFNE and the Ministry of Science and Communication (which hosts the NERC) witnessed the ceremony.
In his opening remarks, Elhussein welcomed the grant as timely, and praised the African Development Bank for this modest but strategic support to his country's energy sector. The Undersecretary reiterated that the grant will help the Government of Sudan to make progress in availing more techniques for energy uses, and a mechanism to increase income and reduce poverty in the country.
On his part, the AfDB Resident Representative, Abdul Kamara, underscored that the grant will help the NERC and the Ministry of Science and Communication to investigate the sources and options for increasing access to energy in Sudan, especially for the rural poor. He added that this approval will go a long way in helping Sudan to address important challenges in the energy sector, particularly in building the capacity of the NERC to respond to Sudan's energy challenges. Kamara further indicated that the African Development Bank is cognizant of the critical period that Sudan is going through, and reassured that the Bank will spare no efforts in continuing to provide technical assistance to Sudan.
The grant, which is financed by the South-South Cooperation Trust Fund managed by the African Development Bank, will initiate activities towards eliminating energy poverty as a first step towards the eradication of poverty in Sudan. The specific objectives of the project financed by this grant are to: (i) Estimate the magnitude of energy poverty in Sudan with solid data; (ii) Identify variations in levels of energy poverty by state, provinces and localities in Sudan; (iii) Outline strategies for reducing the level of energy poverty through technology transfer schemes; and (iv) Provide policy recommendations to improve governance, management and equitable use of energy resources.
This is the second of such modest technical assistance grants from the African Development Bank to Sudan this year, the first being a $0.26 million grant that the AfDB gave to the Momoun Beheiry Centre early this year, a policy think-tank in Khartoum which named after the first President of the African Development Bank.