Amidst independence celebration, Nigeria’s Rural Electrification Agency (REA) has officially launched the Africa Minigrids Program (AMP) to support access to clean energy by increasing the financial viability, and promoting scaled up commercial investment, in renewable energy mini-grids.
It is a four-year project funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Nigeria with a focus on cost-reduction levers and innovative business models.
The programme is active in 21 African Countries and Nigeria is the first to commence implementation following the official launch at an inception workshop hosted in collaboration with representatives from the UNDP, GEF, Ministries of Power, Environment and Agriculture and other key stakeholders in the rural development space.
The Africa Minigrids Program in Nigeria is designed as an enabler project of the REA’s Energising Agriculture Programme which aims to advance one of REA’s strategic priorities of focusing on the unserved and underserved to increase economic opportunities through agriculture and productive sectors in rural communities across the country.
This objective is in line with the mandate of the REA to catalyse economic growth and improve quality of life for rural Nigerians.
At the launch, the UNDP Resident Representative in Nigeria Mr. Mohamed Yahya applauds UNDP collaboration with REA as the project’s implementing partner, adding that access to reliable, sustainable, affordable energy is a catalyst to socio-economic development, and in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
”By scaling up solutions such as renewable energy minigrids, we will be able to close the energy access gap and unlock opportunities for people in Nigeria and across the region,” he added.
On the significance of the programme, the GEF Operational Focal Point at the Federal Ministry of Environment, Mr. Jonah Stanley, sees it as central to issues such as security, climate change, food production and strengthening economies while protecting ecosystems.
REA MD/CEO, Engr. Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad while commending the collaborative spirit with stakeholders said the Africa Minigrids Program will serve as another catalyst for improved access to sustainable energy and also impact on livelihoods by unlocking agricultural value addition opportunities from electrification.
“This sectoral approach is in line with the Agency’s focus on programmes to advance the electrification targets and broader social and
economic development objectives of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”
He emphasized that the programme establish the most appropriate solutions and business models, while amplifying the knowledge gained to catalyse private investment.
As part of the upcoming United Nations Climate Conference COP27 in November in Egypt, the Africa Minigrids Program partners with UNDP, RMI, and the GEF will co-host the event entitled Just Energy Transition: Scaling Up Renewable Energy Minigrids for People and Planet.