Gambia is to receive a $161 million support from three institutions to harness solar power and lean energy.
The support is being extended to Gambia by partners such as the European Investment Bank, World Bank and European Union.
The project will increase access to energy, ensure that education and health services benefit from reliable power. It will also help to address Gambia’s current power shortages.
A statement from the European Investment Bank says once operational the scheme will increase energy supply in the Gambia by one-fifth.
The hope is that it will also transform electricity access in rural communities through construction of a new photo-voltaic plant at Jambur near Banjul.
The statement said “Investment in Gambia’s energy infrastructure is essential to improve economic opportunities and daily lives.”
Vice President of Gambia Ousainu Darboe says “the close cooperation between Gambia and international donors will ensure that Gambia benefits from the most cutting-edge technical experience in the industry from around the world, and become a model for renewable energy for the rest of Africa.”
European Investment Bank, Vice President for energy, Andrew McDowell says “connecting one of the largest solar power plants in West Africa to communities across Gambia will increase access to clean energy, create new economic opportunities and improve health and education for the future.”
The project is designed to ensure the sustainable provision of electricity powered by the solar systems for at least 20 years.
Energy demand in Gambia has grown by 5.5% a year in recent years and the new 20 MW solar power plant to the national energy grid will both significantly increase Gambia’s current generation capacity of 98 MW and enable electrification of rural areas.
Currently more than half the population of Gambia do have access to electricity and in rural areas only 15% of people are connected to the energy network.