IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed an agreement on Tuesday with the government of Senegal to develop up to 200 megawatts of solar power under Scaling Solar, a World Bank Group initiative helping African countries procure renewable energy quickly and affordably. The planned utility-scale solar photovoltaic project underscores the government’s commitment to integrate renewable energy resources in the West African country’s energy mix.
The World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar program has gained momentum across sub-Saharan Africa with this new agreement with Senegal to develop large-scale solar power through private investment quickly and affordably with competitive and transparent tendering. It follows an agreement with Zambia in 2015 that has already generated significant market interest. “This innovative partnership with Senegal is important for creating a new market for solar power investment in the region,” said Vera Songwe, IFC Director for West and Central Africa. “Scaling Solar is an excellent example of how World Bank Group expertise can help governments in the region meet their most pressing needs.”
Scaling Solar offers a “one-stop shop” package of advice, project documents, risk management products, finance and insurance that gives even small countries the purchasing power of larger markets and helps attract leading private sector developers to new geographies. IFC will help the Government of Senegal conduct due diligence and tender the solar project, and IFC, the World Bank and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency are expected to support its bidding phase. “Access to electricity is fundamental for Senegal’s economic development,” said Louise Cord, World Bank Director for Senegal. “Scaling Solar will help the Government of Senegal to draw on an abundant renewable energy source to deliver energy quickly and efficiently, helping to meet the objectives of the Plan Senegal Emergent.”
An agreement with Zambia, signed in August 2015, has already led to major advances toward the first large-scale solar facility in the southern African country. Zambia’s Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has announced that 48 companies sought to prequalify for their two initial 50 megawatt solar projects under Scaling Solar. According to World Bank data, just over half the population of Senegal currently has access to electricity. With energy accounting for an estimated 2.5 percent of Senegal’s gross national product annually, the World Bank Group has doubled its efforts in the sector.