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The recently concluded Africa Energy Forum was host to another major announcement as the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide a EU10mn loan (approx. US$10.53mn) to ENGIE Energy Access to support the deployment of solar home systems across Benin

EIBThe new Benin cooperation follows EIB’s previous support for ENGIE to deploy off-grid solar power in Uganda. (Image source: EIB)

Households, smallholders and entrepreneurs in remote locations across the country will be able to access reliable and cheap electricity for the first time as 107,000 high-quality solar home systems are deployed. These systems will include solar panels and battery storage to be sold on Pay-As-You-Go contracts. 

The scheme will open access to clean energy for 643,000 people.

Ambroise Fayolle, the European Investment Bank vice president, commented, “Vulnerable communities across Africa are being impacted by global energy shocks triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and so improving access to affordable and clean energy is even more important to fight poverty, create jobs and empower women and girls. 

“For the first time, more than half a million people across Benin will be able to access electricity that will power communications, provide light and make cooking easier. Deployment of solar home systems will also reduce the usage of kerosene, charcoal, candles and generators to help families save money, reduce pollution and reduce the risk of accidents. Unlocking sustainable, economic and social development through off-grid solar is key for Africa’s future and to reduce the impact of global energy shocks.”

Gillian-Alexandre Huart, ENGIE Energy Access CEO, remarked, “Over the last couple of years, the private sector has developed off-grid solutions such as solar home systems (SHS), micro- and mini-grids, which have clearly proven to be sustainable and economical solutions to reach universal energy access by 2030. Thanks to the use of digital tools and the strong penetration of mobile money in sub-Saharan Africa, ENGIE Energy Access sells access-to-energy products to our customers on credit to make them affordable. It is clear that a combination of capital from private investors and impact funds from multilateral funds is needed in order to reach the amount of funding necessary to realize the energy transition and to meet SDG7 in Africa."