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OFID extends grant to fight energy poverty in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana
Vienna, Austria, May 15, 2015. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has extended a US$800,000 grant to help finance a solar lighting initiative for off-grid, rural communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. The project represents OFID’s first cooperation with the Vienna-based Organization for International Economic Relations (OiER), which is acting as the vehicle for the grant. The agreement was signed by OFID Director-General, Mr Suleiman J Al-Herbish and Ms Kari Aina Eik, Secretary-General of the OiER.
Around two-thirds of the rural population of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, representing a total of 19 million people, do not have access to electricity. Through this grant, which will be implemented as a joint initiative of the OiER, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Energy Globe Foundation, OFID will contribute to improving the quality of life for 30,000 people by providing them with better access to electricity and lighting. OFID’s grant will mainly finance the procurement and installation of small solar photovoltaic systems in 5,000 rural households (2,500 in each country), the training of end users and the setting up of regional maintenance networks.
In the signing ceremony, Mr Al-Herbish emphasized that OFID considered the initiative an important means of addressing energy poverty, an issue central to OFID’s mandate. “Fighting energy poverty will remain one of OFID’s main priorities in our post-2015 strategy, as we firmly believe that access to reliable and affordable modern energy services is essential for sustainable development,” said Al-Herbish. He also highlighted the initiative’s sustainability, as it would be implemented in cooperation with UNIDO and complemented an ongoing OiER–UNIDO project in the same area that aimed to provide larger off-grid solar systems to local entrepreneurs.
In her remarks, Ms Eik also pointed out the importance of the project for fostering the socioeconomic development of targeted communities. She noted, in addition, that it would build local capacity to install and maintain the solar energy units through the training of local technicians and the creation of a regional maintenance network.