The Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) recently launched in Burkina Faso as the country aims to increase rural electrification through access to solar energy.

Reports say just about 10% of the population in the country’s rural areas has access to electricity, out of a total population of over 22 million.

The collaborators on the project include, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the ministry of energy, mines and quarries (MEMC) of Burkina Faso, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF).

The UNDP-led program will run in the country till January 2027 for a total cost of 1,086,476,580 CFA francs (USD1.75 million).
The AMP national project in Burkina Faso aims to increase access to clean energy by promoting large-scale commercial investment in solar photovoltaic mini-grids in the West African nation.

The AMP project will primarily focus on enabling innovation and technology transfers in decentralized solar energy distribution as well as battery storage solutions.

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The country’s rural electrification agency said the AMP project is being implemented by the Agence Burkinabè de l’Electrification Rurale (ABER).

The program supports Burkina Faso’s COVID-19 recovery efforts and strengthens the resilience of underserved communities. ABER will implement the mini-grids program through several components. This includes policy and regulation, innovation and private sector business models, large-scale financing, use of digital tools & solutions, knowledge management, and evaluation of the projects.

The model of the program is developed such that it will enable removing the political and institutional obstacles that may hinder investments in renewable energy mini-grids. The mechanism facilitates access to low-cost commercial capital including equity and debt in local currency. This will reduce mini-grid costs and ensure the long-term commercial viability of the mini-grid market.

Although the overall electrification rate has already increased in Burkina Faso over recent years, the rate has remained low due to the costly electrification method. The rise of digital technologies and the adoption of the private-sector business model have made solar-battery mini-grids to become a competitive option to provide electricity to off-grid areas in the country.

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The project will be active in seven municipalities across several regions including the Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, Center, Center-Nord, Center-Est, Nord, and Plateau-Central. The mini-grid program is expected to significantly contribute to the country’s rural electrification efforts.

The UNDP-led program will run in the country till January 2027 for a total cost of 1,086,476,580 CFA francs (USD1.75 million).
UNDP estimates that mini-grids are the least-cost option to provide electricity to nearly 265 million people in 21 countries where the AMP project is implemented, for a total investment opportunity of $USD 65 billion.

The program was launched in Somalia earlier this month, with additional national projects to start implementation in Africa throughout the year.

By Bosco Agba

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