EU Launches Rural Electrification Program That Will Give Energy To Africa’s Rural Areas
Statistics has it that 1.3 billion people in the world have no access to electricity, 1 billion more have access to unreliable electricity networks, and 2.6 billion still depend on solid fuels (traditional biomass and coal) for cooking and heating. During the Sustainable Energy for All Summit held in Brussels in April 2012, the European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso outlined an ambitious project of enabling 500 million people in developing nations get access to sustainable energy by 2030.
On June 4th, the European Commission Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs revealed 16 energy projects that will be given €95 million funding as part of EU’s Rural Electrification Programme. Prior to the revealing of these projects, Piebalgs said, “These innovative projects are a real step forward in terms of bringing energy to some of the most remote and poor areas in Africa. The benefits of rural electrification are manifold – by connecting people to clean energy, we’ll improve healthcare, education and opportunities to make a living in the area.”
The projects include wind, hydro, biomass and solar projects that will be launched in the following African countries: Uganda, Rwanda, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Cameroon, Madagascar, Tanzania and Burkina Faso. The European Commission will still promote other proposals received – but not selected – to private and public donors and development agencies. Thus, the list of countries and the number of rural population set to benefit could further increase.
EU is using a co-financing approach by applicants that could lead to the €95 million-worth of funding translating into projects worth more than €155 million; and avail electricity to over 2 million people living in African rural areas. It is part of EU’s last Energy Facility Calls for Proposals focused on improving access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy services for the rural poor. The “Call for Proposal” is a EU funding initiative meant to enable governments, NGOs and private sector organisations to receive a grant for EU Funding, based on their proposal for innovative project.