• logo linkedin
  • logo email
Zagtouli Power Station, Burkina Faso, Night lights
The Sahel Alliance’s conference, “Access to Energy in the Sahel”, is being hosted this week by Agence française de développement and the World Bank in partnership with the EU’s ARE SCALE UP facility.

We take the opportunity to review five of its emblematic projects, one in each of the G5 Sahel countries.
Burkina Faso Sahel
 © Erwan Rogard / AFD


In Burkina Faso, AFD is working with national operator SONABEL by subsidizing residents’ connection to the electrical grid. 

Access to electricity is limited: SONABEL has only 27,000 customers in their region of activity in the north of the country. Thanks to a €3-million grant by AFD, SONABEL is now able to offer connections at a discounted price, with prices subsidized by as much as 80% of the initial cost of connection. 

Up to 30,000 customers are expected to be eligible for this promotion. This campaign complements other electrification campaigns AFD has run in Burkina Faso, along the high-voltage lines it is also funding.
See also: 
Energy access in the Sahel: test your knowledge with our quiz (in French) 
Selection from the 800 projects planned from now until 2022 by the Sahel Alliance 

 ©  Harandane Dicko / AFD



In Mali, AFD is acting to convert thermal power plants to hybrid production (solar power combined with thermal power) and expand the mini grids connected to them. 
The project for hybrid production and rural energy access (PHARE) is sponsored by the Malian agency for the development of domestic energy and rural electrification (AMADER). 

Financed by the European Union (€18 M), AFD (€20 M) and the Malian government (€1 M), it aims to support economic development and improve the well-being of populations living in Mali’s rural regions. 

How? By promoting the use of renewable energy resources and increasing the involvement of the private sector in providing access to electricity in rural regions. The project’s overarching objective is to provide a reliable, affordable, permanent supply of electricity to some 156,000 people located in isolated, rural villages in Mali. In so doing, it promotes the growth of economic activity, improves infrastructure, and enhances living conditions. 
See also: Off-grid solutions: the future of energy in Africa (article in French—Le Monde Afrique)


© Félix Vigné / AFD


In Mauritania, AFD is supporting the electrification of 3 of the country’s 13 wilaya (regions), through mini grids set up as part of the new law on public-private partnerships.

The project for rural electrification in southeast Mauritania (RIMDIR Énergie) is part of the Mauritanian ministry’s strategy for energy, implemented by the Mauritanian electrical company, SOMELEC

This project aims to broaden access to energy in three of the country’s provinces that border Mali, which are isolated from the national grid. This entails a new model of public service distribution and electrification via mini grids. These grids have batteries and are 95% powered by solar power, with only 5% coming from thermal power. 

The project, financed by the European Union and AFD via a €11.6-million grant, will ultimately provide reliable, affordable electrical service to some 3,100 households—approximately 18,600 people—in about 30 villages. It promotes the growth of productive activities, including farming, as well as fighting poverty and rural flight. 


See also: Electrification in Africa must focus on ambitious public-private initiatives  (article in French—Le Monde Afrique)

 © Philippe Guionie / AFD


In Niger, AFD and the European Union are working alongside the Société Nigérienne d’Electricité (NIGELEC) to provide access to electricity for 60,000 households by expanding the grid.

The lack of electricity is one of the biggest constraints on growth in Niger. Improving access to reliable, high-quality electricity is therefore a national priority to promote economic growth and reduce social inequalities in Niger.

The NIGELEC grid expansion project aims to extend electrical service to 14 new districts of capital city Niamey, 30 new county seats in rural regions, and 88 new villages. It also calls for shutting down production at 9 diesel-powered plants and should help improve NIGELEC’s financial situation. 

The project is co-financed by AFD (€30 million) and the European Union (€11 million). It will provide access to electricity for 315,000 people in Niamey and 114,100 people in rural villages, thereby improving their living conditions.

 © DR


In Chad, AFD is supporting the Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNE) in its efforts to improve its operating performance.

The technical, financial, and organizational diagnostics funded by AFD to benefit SNE in 2017 resulted in an action plan, jointly developed with Chadian authorities, identifying priorities for modernizing the company. 
The aim is to improve its operating performance by offering support specifically to develop the skills of its agents, restore its financial balance, reinforce its electrical transmission grid, and improve its framework of governance.

This €1-million emergency support program, which is currently being launched, aims at implementing a series of very short-term actions, working in parallel with SNE to develop and put into effect a structural support program with a budget of approximately €5 million over several years.