The launch of an EU sponsored programme training rural electrification operators in West Africa, took place in Bamako last week. Funded by the EU Energy Facility 2011, the 875,000 Euros programme will set up local training facilities to promote the electrification of rural areas through access to sustainable and modern energy services. The Malian Minister for Water and Energy, Mr Habib Ouane, attended the launch and welcomed this initiative, emphasising the importance of such a programme.
EDF, the largest French Utility Company has partnered with 2iE (International Institute for Water and Environment Engineering, Burkina Faso), FDE (Electrification Development Funds in Burkina Faso) and AMADER, the Malian Agency for the Development of Domestic Energy and Rural Electrification, to roll out the programme across Mali and Burkina Faso.
GVEP will also play a strategic role by allocating 50,000 Euros to enable AMADER to reinforce the capacity of selected Malian operators, helping them scale up their challenged businesses and deliver rural electrification in their areas.
“This ambitious project responds to an immediate need in the rural electrification sector,” said Mr Toure, AMADER’s Director, as he thanked all the partners present at the launch. “Over 12,000 communities in Mali do not have access to electricity yet. Through our partnership we can reach our targets and ensure a sustainable way of energy provision.”
Christine Heuraux, Director of the Energy Access Programme, pointed out that in order to effectively tackle the complexities of the rural electrification challenge; a strong alliance is needed between small and large organisations; the public and private sectors; the North and the South.
“It is not enough to give money or technical assistance or create institutions to achieve rural electrification. A transfer of technical knowledge, management and marketing techniques to the people in the field, is crucial.”
GVEP’s collaboration with AMADER is in line with the three-year Energy SME (ESME) programme. Funded by the Russian Government through a World Bank trust fund, the programme is aimed at supporting energy small and medium enterprises in sub-Saharan Africa in a bid to reduce poverty in the region.
Mali is one of the six countries covered by the ESME programme. GVEP collaborated with the World Bank to provide the programme’s focus and is in charge of technical assistance and capacity building in the country.