REA launches Africa Minigrid Programme to boost energy access in Nigeria

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The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) officially launched the Africa Minigrids Program (AMP), a four-year project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria.

This was contained in a statement released to Nigerian NewsDirect during the Weekend by the Agency’s Director, Promotions, Mr Ayang Ogbe.

Speaking at the launch, the Managing Director / CEO of the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), Engr. Ahmad Salihijo disclosed that, “The Africa Minigrids Program will serve as another catalyst for improved access to sustainable energy and equitable and inclusive impact on livelihoods by unlocking agricultural value addition opportunities from electrification.”

He further added that “this sectoral approach is in line with the Agency’s focus on programmes to advance the electrification targets and broader social and economic development objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

In his remarks, the Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund (REF) at the REA, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare outlined that “to enhance the viability of mini-grids and the impact of electrification, the programme will deploy pilot mini-grids to achieve the electrification of rural communities and agricultural value chains and establish the most appropriate solutions and business models, while amplifying the knowledge gained to catalyse private investment.”

The Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) in Nigeria will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), 13 (Climate Action) and 5 (Gender Equality) with an estimate of 70,063 direct project beneficiaries out of which 34,559 are women. The lifetime global environmental benefit is estimated at 74.2 ktCO2e.

Meanwhile, the UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria, Mr. Mohamed Yahya mentioned that the UNDP is delighted with the launch of the Africa Minigrids Program national project in Nigeria with the Rural Electrification Agency as the project’s implementing partner.

He said, “Access to reliable, sustainable, affordable energy is a catalyst to socio-economic development, and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

He further added that, “By scaling up solutions such as renewable energy minigrids, we will be able to close the energy access gap and unlock opportunities for people in Nigeria and across the region.”

The GEF Operational Focal Point at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Jonah Stanley, emphasized the significance of the programme which he sees as “central to issues such as security, climate change, food production and strengthening economies while protecting ecosystems.”

The programme aims to support access to clean energy by increasing the financial viability, and promoting scaled up commercial investment, in renewable energy mini-grids, with a focus on cost-reduction levers and innovative business models.

The programme is active in 21 African Countries and the Nigeria national project implemented by the REA is the first to commence implementation following the official launch at an inception workshop hosted in collaboration with representatives from the UNDP, GEF, Federal Ministries of Power, Environment and Agriculture as well as other key stakeholders in the rural development space.

The Africa Minigrids Program in Nigeria is designed as an enabler project of the REA’s Energising Agriculture Programme (EAP) which aims to advance one of REA’s strategic priorities of focusing on the unserved and underserved to increase economic opportunities through agriculture and productive sectors in rural communities across the country. This objective is in line with the mandate of the REA to catalyse economic growth and improve quality of life for rural Nigerians.