One of the world's poorest countries is getting $167 million dollars from a investors including a fund run by some the world's richest oil producing nations to develop solar power.
The OPEC Fund for International Development is joining the Green Climate Fund, Power Africa, and the African Development Bank to loan money to the Niger Solar Plant Development and Electricity Access Improvement Project to build solar power around the African nation.
“Our support will help Niger increase access to affordable and clean energy and improve the overall capacity of the electricity network, making a real difference in people’s lives," said OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, in a statement. "The OPEC Fund is committed to addressing the twin challenges of energy access and climate action and helping ensure that no one is left behind.”
The money will fund three solar plants in different regions of the country and is expected to generate 40 megawatts of power. That should be enough to benefit nearly 750,000 across the country.
Some of the funds will also develop new transmission lines to connect the solar power plants to cities in Niger's south and the capital in Niamey.
Only 20 percent of Niger's population have access to electricity -- making the nation one of the worst connected in sub-Saharan Africa and around the world. There are also significant gaps in the ability to access electricity between urban and rural areas.
The project backed by these multinational funds should go some way to solve the issue and ensure that Niger's infrastructure is powered by renewables rather than fossil fuels.