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The African Development Bank (AfDB), in partnership with the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Energy, the Energy Commission and other partners, organized a two-day workshop under the title “Actualizing Mini-grid Policy and Advancing Universal Energy Access in Ghana” on March 23-24, 2017 in Accra. The purpose of this Action Learning Event was to explore the policy related to mini-grids and facilitate a discussion that will enhance the successful implementation of policies that will encourage widespread mini-grid build-out and ultimately universal energy access in Ghana. More than 100 participants were present from government officials, key players in the private sector and development partners.
“Mini grids hold great potential for expanding electricity access in Ghana. This workshop not only attests to this fact, but also demonstrates the willingness and commitment by key stakeholders to take this potential to scale,” Kennedy Mbekeani, Officer in Charge, Country Manager of AfDB’s Ghana office, stated during his opening remarks.
“Through the New Deal on Energy for Africa,” he continued, “the Bank as an aspirational goal more specifically, an off-grid electricity access target of reaching 75 million connections by 2025. This goal can only be achieved through collaboration and partnership across a wide spectrum of fully committed and dedicated partners as the ones gathered here today.” The Bank is working to achieve this goal through the various Bank initiatives, such as the AfDB-hosted Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) with support from Department for International Development (DFID), which is leading a Green Mini Grid Country Support Program for countries such as Rwanda, Mozambique, Niger and, more recently, The Gambia. In this context, the Bank is also organizing and hosting an “Off Grid Revolution” Stakeholder Consultation Workshop in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on March 28, 2017.
Although Ghana has one of the highest electrification rates in Sub-Saharan Africa, there are still roughly two million people living in rural and/or isolated areas where the grid is unlikely to reach them within the next 10 years. In Ghana’s rural areas, roughly 59% of communities do not have access to electricity, including a number of communities living on islands in Lake Volta and in isolated lakeside locations.
The AfDB is financing initial efforts to scale up mini grids in Ghana for example through the implementation of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) Ghana Investment Plan “Renewable Mini-grids and Stand-alone Systems” project, which consists of financing market studies for the construction of 55 renewable energy-based mini-grids and 35,250 stand-alone photovoltaic (PV) electrification systems installed in 500 rural communities.
Emmanuel Biririza, SEFA Mini Grid Expert, animated a session which wrapped up the1st day workshop “on various model options when Grid Encroachment”. The conversation encouraged partnership between public and private sector to be able to achieve universal access.
AfDB was represented at the workshop by Antony Karembu, Senior Energy Economist in charge of the Ghana Energy Sector; Emmanuel Biririza, SEFA Mini Grid Expert; and Komal Hassamal, Senior Climate Finance Officer in the AfDB’s Renewable Energy Department.
The other supporting partners of the workshop included the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Power Africa, the World Bank Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) and Inner City Fund (ICF).