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The Niger government has officially launched the first phase of its electricity acceleration project named ‘Haské’. The major electrification program is supported by the World Bank Group and aims to employ renewable electricity and clean cooking in the country.
The first phase of the project was recently launched at a ceremony in the capital city of Niamey, in the presence of World Bank officials. The ‘Haské’ program, which means ‘light’ in the local Hausa language, aims to increase the rate of electricity access in Niger to 30% by 2026 and 80% by 2035.
The Energy Minister of Niger, Ibrahim Yacoubou, said at the launch event that the program will accelerate access to electricity in healthcare facilities, education establishments, and businesses in urban as well as rural areas. The project includes the expansion of the use of solar energy in this West African nation.
Niger is one of the least electrified countries in the African continent, with an electricity access rate of only 19.3% in 2020, according to the World Bank report. The country is therefore banking on the ‘Haské’ program to get out of this slump.
The project aims to extend the national electricity network in urban regions, deploy solar mini-grids in rural areas, and distribute clean cooking kits in households. In addition to the extension of the urban electricity network, the government also focuses on the productive use of electricity, by promoting electricity access for local businesses.
The deployment of green mini-grids in rural regions of the country is perhaps the most important component of the program, as only 13% of households and micro & small businesses in rural areas have access to electricity. The government plans to add solar plants to existing mini-thermal power plants in rural areas.
The renewable electrification program requires estimated funding of US$ 317 million. Out of this funding, the World Bank will provide a $155 million loan along with a grant of $7.5 million through the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) multi-donor trust fund.
Han Fraeters, World Bank’s Resident Representative in Niger, commented, “In five years, about 2.5 million people will have access to electricity, nearly 4,000 socio-economic infrastructures will be electrified and nearly 3 million will benefit from clean cooking methods.”
The Haské program will be jointly implemented by Niger Electricity Company (NIGELEC), National Agency for Rural Electrification (ANPER), National Solar Energy Agency (ANERSOL), and the Directorate for the Promotion of Cooking Energy under the Ministry of Energy and Renewable Energy.