16 August 2014, News Wires – The Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) approved on 11th of August in Tunis a US$530,000 grant to Mali as co-funding for a project to promote renewable energy in the country (PAPERM project). The overall objective of the grant is to strengthen the enabling environment for catalyzing renewable energy investments from the private sector. Specifically, SEFA will finance policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks, as well as capacity building for various audiences involved in developing, financing, and operating renewable energy power projects.
The SEFA funded component is part of a wider project (PAPERM) in the context of the country’s Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) with a total project cost of approximately US$ 2.6 million, also funded by the SREP (US$1.5 million) and the government of Mali (US$0.4 million).
The PAPERM project has three components: the first will aim at improving the policy, legal, regulatory and institutional environment to promote investment in renewable energy; the second is focused on capacity building, knowledge management, communications and advocacy for renewable energy; and the third will strengthen the monitoring and evaluation processes of the sub-sector, and the programmatic approach under SREP-Mali. Mali’s Ministry of Energy will be the executing agency with the projected expected to be completed in three years.
The need to promote the development of renewable energy in Mali could not be greater: the national electricity access rate is only around 30%, even as the potential in solar, hydro and wind power generation is tremendous. “To better its energy mix, Mali must improve its policy, legal and regulatory framework. Eventually, renewable energy will be seen as a viable option for reducing the country’s dependence on thermal generation and effectively lower the electricity retail tariff,” said Alex Rugamba, Director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department.
During the course of the project, the AfDB will support Mali’s Ministry of Energy in preparing and implementing activities, channeling SREP funding, and raising more financing to scale up the renewable energy investment in Mali. As part of the SREP program, the Bank is also involved in the development of a mini hydroelectricity project and a solar Photovoltaic independent power producer project in Mali.