The European Business Council for Africa

The African Development Bank Group on 2 November 2023, approved a contribution of EUR 14.42 million towards the RIMDIR Mini Grid Electrification Project in Mauritania as part of the Desert to Power Initiative.

The grant from the Bank’s Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) aims to facilitate the electrification of 40 local communities by establishing seven mini-grids in the South East region of Mauritania (Hodh El Gharbi and Hodh Echargui). Additionally, the funds will be allocated to income generating activities.

By complementing the interventions of the French Development Agency and the World Bank in the RIMDIR project, the African Development Bank and the SEFA fund underscore their commitment to fostering private sector engagement in rural electrification, a model the Bank seeks to replicate, drawing from the extensive expertise gained from other successful projects in the region.

Executed by the Société Mauritanienne d'Electricité (SOMELEC), the project is expected to cut electricity production costs, alleviate greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance the resilience of agro-pastoral communities. The project will aim to achieve these outcomes by enhancing the reliability and affordability of energy supply, fundamental to fostering local economic development.

Mauritania's Minister of Energy, Nani Ould Chrougha, welcomed the approval, saying: "We are delighted with the Bank's support, exemplified by this major grant for the first structured PPP project in Mauritania’s electricity sector. The project supports our policy of universal access to electricity by 2030 and an energy transition to promote economic growth, particularly in rural areas, in line with the Priority Programme of the President of the Republic, Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani. The RIMDIR project illustrates the remarkable work of the Desert to Power initiative in our country".

Dr. Daniel Schroth, Director of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency at the African Development Bank said: “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.”

Malinne Blomberg, Deputy Director General, North Africa Region, and Country Manager for Mauritania at the African Development Bank, said, “The approval of this project reaffirms the Bank’s commitment and support for Mauritania. The project is set to benefit close to 30,000 people living in 40 localities while supporting income-generating activities. It is our hope that the project will provide a solid evidence base for private-sector-led PPPs in the electrification of rural areas not only in Mauritania but also in the Sahel region in general.”

About the Desert to Power Initiative

Desert to Power is the African Development Bank's flagship renewable energy and economic development initiative that aims to light up and power the Sahel region by building ten gigawatts of electricity capacity through solar energy systems, as well as on-grid and off-grid projects, by 2030. In total, 11 countries in the Sahel region will benefit and 250 million people will have access to electricity for socio-economic development. Launched in 2019, Desert to Power is in line with the Bank's High 5 strategic priority: "Light up and power Africa".

About the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA):

SEFA is a multi-donor Special Fund that provides catalytic finance to unlock private sector investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. SEFA offers technical assistance and concessional finance instruments to remove market barriers, build a more robust pipeline of projects and improve the risk-return profile of individual investments. The Fund’s overarching goal is to contribute to universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services for all in Africa, in line with the New Deal on Energy for Africa and Sustainable Development Goal 7.


Source: African Development Bank Group