The UK Government is to support the growth of solar technology companies in Nigeria, Ghana, Somalia, Senegal and Ethiopia.The project is designed to help more than 11 million people across the sub-Saharan African countries have access to solar energy.
The British High Commission in Abuja on Thursday said that the UK Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin, made the announcement on Wednesday.
Baldwin, who accompanied Prime Minister Theresa May to Nigeria, said that supporting such companies to provide clean energy to off-grid households in Africa would improve the livelihoods of people.
“Africa’s solar industry is vibrant and exciting, full of potential to transform the lives of millions of people, who are still living off the grid.
“By sharing British expertise we’re allowing this industry to flourish, helping the poorest to access clean, sustainable energy, while also opening up opportunities for UK business and investment.
“This is a win for African countries and a win for the UK,” she said.
The High Commission, in the statement, mentioned that the UK aid through the Department for International Development (DFID), was helping to boost opportunities for early stage businesses in Africa.
It stated that the opportunities were made available through the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) and a new round of the fund was being launched in five sub-Saharan African countries.
The countries are Nigeria, Ghana, Somalia, Senegal and Ethiopia.
“A new round of the AECF, £16 million, is being launched, providing grants, loans and business development support to small businesses creating innovative household solar products and appliances,” it said.
According to the statement, this programme will help up to 1.5 million poor people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2022 access clean, affordable modern energy, with a focus on women and children.
It added that the UK aid would also help governments reduce the barriers in the growth of solar companies in Africa and “lay the groundwork” for 14 partner sub-Saharan African countries in clean energy.
“Support to DFID’s Clean Energy Technical Assistance Facility (£15.5 million) will work across 14 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria and Kenya,” it added.
It pointed out that the UK aid would increase its support to the Energise Africa impact investment platform to help 1500 new UK small investors provide the necessary finance needed.
It added that the platform would connect 125,000 more people to affordable solar energy, allowing the programme to reach a total of 325,000 people.
“Energise Africa to date has raised £4.8 million from 1000 investors to help more than 195,000 access affordable solar energy.
“Strengthening the solar market in Africa is opening up opportunities for the UK’s own pioneering solar industry to access the untapped potential offered by African markets,” it said.