World Bank Director of Strategy and Operations, Western/Central African Region, Ms Elizabeth Huybens has announced during an inspection at a two 60 kilowatt solar-powered mini-grids in Kilankwa I and Kilankwa II communities in Kwali LGA, Federal Capital Territory, that it was considering supporting the Nigeria Electrification Project, NEP, with another $750 million grant.

Nigeria has the world’s largest absolute electricity access deficit. Lack of access to the electricity grid affects 45 percent of the population (90 million people), making Nigeria the country with the largest number of people not connected to electricity. As such, Nigeria accounts for 12 percent of the global access deficit. Large disparities exist in access to electricity between urban areas (84 percent) and rural ones (26 percent).

The Additional Financing will help Nigeria to generate private capital inflows to the power sector by continuing to address the major constraint to Nigerian businesses, especially lack of reliable power supply.

The initial $350 million NEP grant ends in August, 2023. The NEP seeks to bridge the energy access deficit by providing electricity to households, MSMEs, educational and healthcare facilities in unserved and underserved rural communities through the deployment of mini-grids, Solar Home Systems, captive power plants, and productive use appliances. The mini-grid component of the project has a $48 million allocation.

Ms Huybens explained that access to electricity was a priority goal for the World Bank as it was one of the crucial way of alleviating people out of poverty.

According to her, “We believe that access to electricity for all is one of the most important goals to pursue for any country because without electricity, it’s very hard to think about how communities can really live, if you don’t have electricity, kids cannot study at night. Nobody can have a refrigerator.”

“We cannot move towards electric vehicles if we don’t have electricity. In fact, you cannot even charge your cell phone without electricity, right. So it’s hard for me to think about modern life without electricity. It’s hard for me to think about reducing poverty without access to electricity. And since the World Bank’s overarching goal is to help countries eradicate poverty, we need to help countries provide access to electricity to their populations”, she added.

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