- “We’ll literally be able to ‘green’ the Sahel”
“We’ll literally be able to ‘green’ the Sahel”
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), on the Sahel region's solar power potential
OPEC Fund: The Sahara offers huge opportunities for solar energy generation, but is it economically feasible to harness that potential? Is that on the AfDB’s agenda?
Akinwumi Adesina: The Sahel region of Africa has the highest solar irradiation in the world — but also the lowest rate for access to electricity. That’s why the AfDB launched the “Desert to Power Initiative”, which aims to harness the power of the sun and develop a total of 11,000 MW of solar power systems across 11 countries.
It will provide electricity for 250 million people. It will also reduce carbon emissions for people relying on firewood and charcoal, which is the primary source of cooking energy in many of those countries. The initiative is really a game changer. The Sahel is dry, but if we have solar power and solar-driven irrigation systems, we’ll literally be able to “green” the Sahel.