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On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) met in the Bank’s Sudan Field Office in Khartoum to explore possibilities of collaboration in the energy sector. The UNDP is piloting a project called Solar 4 Health which seeks to identify sustainable energy solutions for equitable access to health services. The estimated cost of the proposed program is USD 85 million. The program builds on the recommendations of the COP21 meeting held in Paris, France, in 2015 and is consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The UNDP Country Director in Sudan, Selva Ramachandran, noted that this program is conceived on the backdrop of high levels of poverty in Sudan, of about 46.7% average, which if extrapolated with the 65% rate of energy poverty creates a dire need for attention and interventions. This situation creates an opportunity that could be harnessed, using the abundant renewable energy sources, especially solar energy, which could be used to revitalize agriculture and improve service delivery in rural settings.
AfDB Resident Representative Abdul Kamara noted the recently concluded study by the Bank on the subject, which analyzed energy poverty in Sudan and options for addressing it, notably from renewable sources. Kamara underscored that framing the program within the framework of COP21 was timely, underscoring the active role played by the African Development Bank at the UN climate talks in Paris and the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) that ensued. Kamara also touched on the Bank’s ENABLE Youth Program, which he explained create an opportunity for African youths to acquire skills in agriculture and capacity to develop businesses agricultural entrepreneurs, now termed as agripreneurs. With Sudan as beneficiary of the ENABLE Youth Program, he identified the program as an opportunity for collaboration, given that the UNDP’s energy initiative is also focused on rural sector especially agriculture.
The institutions agreed to continue discussion on opportunities for collaborations in the initiative. Other donors earmarked for this collaboration include the World Bank, the European Union and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).