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EDF and IFC sign agreement to promote rural electrification in Africa and globally

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and EDF, a global leader in the power sector, have signed an agreement to cooperate in developing off-grid electrification solutions in emerging markets, with the ultimate goal of serving up to half a million people living in rural areas, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa.
The agreement is focused primarily on sub-Saharan Africa, with a pilot project under development in Benin. The first phase of this pilot is intended to provide electricity to 25 000 people, using hybrid solar-diesel networks and two biomass fired power plants. The project may be replicated in other parts of Benin, as well as other countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Myanmar.

In signing this agreement, EDF and IFC expect to combine their expertise in order to develop cutting edge, affordable and sustainable solutions for rural electrification. The scope of cooperation between EDF and IFC includes seeking sources of financing to support potential projects, sharing sector expertise between the two institutions, and where necessary, exploring sustainable co-investment opportunities, for example thorough the creation of a joint investment vehicle to finance eligible projects in the target countries.

Bertrand Heysch de la Borde, Senior Manager for Infrastructure in Africa at IFC said, "Almost 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity in the world. Bringing power to these people is a major challenge that we must address. IFC is proud to partner with EDF Group, a global leader in energy and a valued partner for IFC in achieving this goal."

IFC is particularly active in rural electrification through its Lighting Africa initiative, (providing off-grid lighting to almost 7 million people); its investments in rural electrification in Senegal; and indirectly, through investments and financings in the power sector globally (about $2 billion in financing has been mobilized in the sub-Saharan Africa power sector over the past three fiscal years alone).

Edouard Dahomé, EDF Director for Africa and access to energy, said, "Electricity is a vital product without which no real development is possible. Access to energy for rural populations, who are more often the most disadvantaged ones, allows poverty reduction by developing income-generating activities, while also promoting education, health, access to water, etc. The partnership between EDF and the IFC will reinforce and further develop EDF’s engagement in this area which has been underway for more than 20 years."

EDF, a global power sector leader, has solid experience in rural electrification, primarily in Africa. Through the Access to Energy program, EDC has delivered electricity to over 500,000 people in Mali, Morocco, Senegal, Botswana and South Africa. EDF has developed an innovative model based on partnering systematically with a local partner and setting up Decentralized Services Companies. EDF is thus providing low-income households sustainable energy access solutions that are adapted to local constraints and needs, while integrating itself in the socio-economic fabric of the program's target region.

Additional information:
News date: 04/07/2014

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