ROGEP - Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project

Access to electricity is undeniably an important factor in the development of communities and by extension, countries. Whereas many countries have improved in the access to energy, others are still lagging behind which continues to be a major challenge these countries. The cost of extending grid to communities that have no productive sectors is inhibiting the governments to undertake such expensive interventions.

According to the International Energy Agency report of 2018, the number of people without access to electricity declined from 1.7 billion in 2000 to 1.1 billion in 2016, mainly via the expansion of the grid and with fossil fuels (45% coal, 19% natural gas and 7% oil). Progress has accelerated – more than 100 million people gained electricity access per year since 2012, compared with 62 million people per year between 2000 and 2012, and renewable sources of electricity provided 34% of this increased access.

In sub-Saharan Africa, 43% of the population now has access to electricity. There has been some encouraging progress in recent years, with 26 million people gaining access annually since 2012, an almost tripling of the rate seen between 2000 and 2012. East Africa registered significant progress. As a result, electrification efforts outpaced population growth for the first time in 2014, leading to a decline in the number of people without access since then. But progress overall has been uneven, and the number of people without access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa remains higher today than in 2000.

In the West Africa sub region, countries like Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have high access to energy in the urban areas compared to Nigeria, Senegal and others. The two countries are still doing better in the rural electrification programmes. It is estimated that 43% (170 million people) of West Africa´s population has no access to electricity.

ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) with funding from the World Bank Group has initiated the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) covering 15 ECOWAS and 4 Sahelian Countries. The Sahelian countries are Tchad, Cameroon, Central Africa Republic and Mauritania.  ROGEP is designed to help achieve the ECOWAS´s renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030, i.e.  to increase the share of renewable energy in the region’s overall electricity mix to 10% in 2020 and 19% in 2030 and by extension to the four other countries.   ROGEP will be implemented by ECREEE and Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement (BOAD) as the technical and financial implementation agencies respectively.

ROGEP primarily seeks to promote a harmonized regional market that provides the incentive for the proliferation of stand-alone solar equipment (e.g. solar lanterns, solar home systems, solar water pumps, solar milling equipment, etc.) to homes, business, and communities without access to electrical grid infrastructure.  This implies that the strategic implementation of ROGEP is contingent on addressing market and operational level barriers that are impeding the scaling up of solar off-grid technology in the designated countries. ROGEP will create a mechanism to access debt financing through BOAD for private sector companies supplying off-grid solar technology solutions for household use and other productive end users and to electrify community/ public institutions such as schools, health centers, administrative buildings, public lighting etc.

In addition, ROGEP will support market intelligence studies to demonstrate the opportunities and challenges presented by the off-grid markets in the project countries. These studies will provide key stakeholders (i.e. solar companies, end users and commercial financial institutions) the motivation to make informed business decisions as well as critical data to help manufacturers, distributors, and retailers to make informed business decisions.

As part of the preparatory phase, specific policy and regulatory areas where participating countries have shown that they require capacity strengthening have been identified. These areas include national electricity/electrification policy, integrated national electrification plan, energy and electricity law and, frameworks for stand-alone systems.  Technical assistance will be tailored to the specific needs of the countries in these areas.

A Gender Strategy has also been developed to enable the project implementation unit mainstream gender into the different project activities. This will ensure that the project contributes to closing gender gaps, and provides opportunities for equal participation of women and men as beneficiaries of the project.  Stakeholder engagement, awareness raising and capacity building the vehicles for the implementation of the gender strategy. Key targeted stakeholders include private companies, regional development banks, commercial financial institutions, solar companies and end-users of solar equipment.

Besides these, the project implementation unit has taken into consideration potential social, environmental, and occupational safety risks associated with the implementation of the project. A strategy to manage such risks has been put in place and will be implemented to eliminate, offset, or reduce to acceptable levels any adverse effects of these risks.

Other key activities to be implemented include, Product Quality Assurance, and Consumer Awareness and Sensitization, and, Policy and Regulatory support.

The following are the components of the project (click on each subcompenent to download):

Component 1 - Developing a Regional Market

Subcomponent 1 A:  Enabling Environment

Subcomponent 1 B: Entrepreneurship Technical Support

Subcomponent 1 C: Entrepreneurship Financing Support

Subcomponent 1 D: Barrier Removal for Challenging Markets

Component 2 - Access to Finance for Stand-alone Solar System Businesses

Subcomponent 2 A:  Line of Credit to Stand-alone Solar Businesses

Subcomponent 2 B:  Contingent Grant Facility for CFIs