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‘$30bn required’ as World, AfDB partner to provide 300m Africans with access to electricity

Ajay Banga, the World Bank president and Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president Ajay Banga, the World Bank president and Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president

The World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) have struck a partnership arrangement to boost access to electricity in Africa.

The partnership, according to the lenders, would provide at least 300 million people in Africa with access to power supply by 2030.

The initiative follows the World Bank’s recent commitment to become more impact-oriented and is the byproduct of a concerted strategy to build a better bank.

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The company said the scheme is aided by a constellation of regional energy programmes that will now be aligned toward the goal.

According to the statement, for the World Bank to connect 250 million people, “$30 billion of public sector investment will be needed, of which IDA, the World Bank’s concessional arm for low-income countries, will be critical”.

In addition, the institution said governments will also need to put in place policies to attract private investment and reform their utilities “so they are financially sound and efficient with tariff mechanisms that protect the poor”.

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Meanwhile, under the deal, the World Bank said it would work to connect 250 million people to electricity through distributed renewable energy systems or the distribution grid.

The AfDB, on its part, is expected to support an additional 50 million people, the Breton Wood firm said in a statement to journalists in Washington DC, the United States.

The group said access to electricity is a fundamental human right and is foundational “to any successful development effort”.

The financial firm said 600 million Africans currently lack access to electricity, creating significant barriers to health care, education, productivity, digital inclusivity, and ultimately job creation.

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Speaking on the agreement, Ajay Banga, the World Bank president said access to power is the bedrock of all development.

It is a critical ingredient for economic growth and essential for job creation at scale,” he said.

“Our aspiration will only be realized with partnership and ambition.

“We will need policy action from governments, financing from multilateral development banks, and private sector investment to see this through.”

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Meanwhile, the statement described the partnership as a demonstration of the determination of the two banks “to be bolder, bigger and better in tackling one of the most pressing challenges in Africa”.

Speaking on the partnership, Akinwumi Adesina said he and Banga agreed to tackle three issues in three sectors critical to the development of the African region.

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“Three things Ajay and I agreed to do was let’s first solve Africa’s energy problem,” Adesina said.

“Second is, let’s make sure Africa can feed itself, and of course, to do that, you also need energy to power industries for value addition and the third one is to make that we create jobs.

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“And you can’t create jobs if you don’t have energy rolling in an economy”.

Adesina said energy is like blood, noting that economies thrive on energy.

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