6 December 2017

Nigeria: World Bank Support to Energy Sector Hits U.S.$3 Billion

Abuja — The World Bank on Tuesday disclosed that its contribution to the Nigeria's national electrification projects in support of the energy sector has grown in portfolio to over $3billion.

The Bank said it is contributing $350million to these projects of which $150million is channelled to mini-grids, as part of its support to boosting access to electricity.

The Bank also stressed the need for the Federal Government to leverage on the support of development partners, and the private sector experience to scale up mini grids in efforts to provide electricity to the over 80 million Nigerians still without access to electricity.

The World Bank Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud, who spoke while during a presentation on: "Overview of off-grid opportunities and challenges in Nigeria," at a weeklong action learning event on "Up-scaling mini grids for low-cost and timely access to electricity."

The event was organised by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) with support of the World Bank, Department for International Development, Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme.

Benmessaoud, who was represented by a World Bank Expert, Mac Cosgrove-Davis, noted that in addition to the 80 million that still lacked access to electricity, millions more lack access to sustainable electricity in Nigeria. This is just as more than 600 million are without access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa and over one billion people are without electricity globally.

He said: "We know that globally, about 1 billion people still lack access to electricity. In sub-Saharan Africa, that translates to more than 600 million people including Nigeria, where 80 million people still lack access to electricity. And millions still don't have access to good electricity.

"This is not a job for anyone alone. As I mentioned that the government has to work for support. More than $350million National Electrification Projects, the focus is on off-grid opportunities and half of this money ($150million) is for mini grids.

"And the World Bank is ready to give its support in funding the projects. Most of the development partners are standing shoulder to shoulder with the government on these efforts."

In her presentation, the Managing Director, Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Damilola Ogunbiyi, said the government is making efforts to ensure efficient energy generation and power supply to Nigerians.

She decried the present situation where over N40billion is spent annually on inefficient power generation through various types private power generating sets.

She said REA had been authorised to establish a Rural Electrification Fund, to help finance rural electrification expansion in Nigeria.

Earlier, the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, urged participants to make good use of the opportunity provided by the forum to key into the many intervention programmes of the government meant to provide electricity to Nigerians.

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