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KENDAL, South Africa: This aerial view shows Eskom Kendal power station in Kendal, near Emalahleni.- AFP
KENDAL, South Africa: This aerial view shows Eskom Kendal power station in Kendal, near Emalahleni.- AFP
World Bank aims to connect Africans to energy grid

WASHINGTON: The World Bank has significantly scaled up its ambition to connect Africans to the electricity grid by 2030, from 100 million to more than 250 million, the Bank’s president said Wednesday. The development lender has estimated that around 600 million people in Africa do not currently have access to affordable, reliable electricity—a key factor hampering job creation and economic development on the African continent.

“Back in COP28, the World Bank made a commitment to connect 100 million Africans to affordable energy by 2030,” World Bank president Ajay Banga told an event at the Bank’s headquarters in Washington. “We’re going to multiply that commitment to 250 million people out of that 600,” he added.

To connect this many people to the energy grid by 2030, $30 billion of public sector investment will be needed, the World Bank said in a statement. The Bank committed to allocating $5 billion to the project last year, which leaves a gap of $25 billion in public funding to meet the ambitious target. It hopes to raise and allocate an additional $15 billion through its concessional lending arm, the International Development Association (IDA), leaving an additional $10 billion to be found from “other public money,” a spokesperson told AFP.

“600 million people in the continent do not have access to any power. Any. Zero,” Banga said. “To me, that’s an unacceptable situation in the year 2024.” “Getting electricity to people is mission one, two and three,” he said. Alongside the World Bank, the African Development Bank is looking to connect an additional 50 million people to the grid across Africa by the end of this decade, Banga said. “If we can reach 300 out of 600 by 2030, that’s great stuff,” he continued. “That’s the kind of commitment we need to make,” he added. “But that’s going to take effort from across all parts of the Bank.” — AFP

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