In a landmark development, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and UAE-based AMEA Power, have launched Tunisia’s inaugural privately-financed solar project. This venture promises to reshape the country’s energy landscape by slashing power generation costs, significantly curbing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90,000 tons annually, and bolstering Tunisia’s green energy transition.
The project launch ceremony took place on September 26th, with partners coming together at the government headquarters in Al Qasba, Tunis. This initiative represents one of Tunisia’s most significant infrastructure projects in over a decade.
Valued at $86 million, the 120-megawatt solar facility, situated in Tunisia’s Kairouan governorate, will benefit from up to $26 million in debt financing, with the African Development Bank contributing $13 million through SEFA, a multi-donor fund dedicated to facilitating private sector investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency. The financing arrangement is carefully structured to support the comprehensive development, financing, operation, and maintenance of the plant, strategically located approximately 150 km south of Tunis in El Metbassta.
Hela Cheikhrouhou, IFC’s Regional Vice President for the Middle East, Central Asia, Türkiye, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, emphasized the significance of a renewable energy project in Tunisia, highlighting the role of private sector partners in driving the country’s green transition.
Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s Vice President for Africa, praised the ambitious project for bringing affordable, clean energy to Tunisia while supporting the nation’s energy goals and attracting further private investments in green initiatives.
Dr. Kevin Kariuki, Vice President of Power, Energy, Climate, and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, celebrated the signing of Tunisia’s first solar IPP project, emphasizing the collaborative effort to advance clean energy in the country.
AMEA Power’s Chairman, Hussain Al Nowais, expressed pride in delivering this significant 120MW solar project amid pandemic challenges.
Malinne Blomberg, African Development Bank deputy Director General for North Africa, stressed the project’s transformative power and the importance of partnerships.
SEFA’s involvement helped safeguard the project’s feasibility during the pandemic as part of its COVID-19 IPP relief program, making the Kairouan Solar PV project Tunisia’s pioneering utility-scale solar IPP.
Crucially, this solar plant plays a central role in Tunisia’s strategic plan to reduce its dependence on natural gas and aims to increase the country’s renewable energy share to an ambitious 35% by the year 2030. Thus, the Kairouan Solar project represents not only a significant step in power generation but also a pivotal driver of regional transformation.