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GEF, UNDP foot $2.9 million off-grid rural electrification project

By Bridget Chiedu Onochie, Abuja
27 May 2022   |   4:04 am
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA), with funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has kicked off a five-year energy project.

The Rural Electrification Agency (REA), with funding from Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has kicked off a five-year energy project.

Tagged, ‘Derisking sustainable off-grid lighting solution in Nigeria’, direct beneficiaries of the $2.9 million scheme are estimated at 96,380, out of which 47,540 are women.

At the official launch, yesterday, in Abuja, were the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare, representative of the UNDP, Mohamad Yahya and the Project Manager, Dr. Bala Tyoden.

The partners said the undertaking was financed by GEF with $2.6 million and supported by UNDP with $300,000.

In his welcome address, the REA boss harped on effective collaborations in delivering rural electrification projects.

While appreciating the financial assistance, he reiterated the imperative of rural electrification to national development and beckoned on the private sector for investment collaborations in renewable energy in Nigeria.

Ahmad held that the financial support would assist immensely in achieving the overall targets of the programme in line with the agency’s mandate and Federal Government’s commitment to powering communities nationwide.

Executive Director, Rural Electrification Fund, Dr. Sanusi Ohiare, also elaborated on the objectives of the programme and the huge positive impacts on the socio-economic development of rural dwellers, tasking the technical working groups to ensure the project succeeds.

He stressed the relevance of the private sector in ensuring access to electricity, especially in rural areas.

Noting that it would be almost impossible for government to tackle the challenges of rural electrification, Ohiare commended the partners for thinking and acting in that direction.

The UNDP representative was hopeful of the project succeeding, citing the commitment of the partners and the zeal to achieve desired result.

The Project manager said the scheme was designed to develop a private sector-led technology value-chain to make off-grid renewable energy technologies such as solar lanterns and solar home systems available to rural households, who might likely not be electrified until after 2025.