The government of Senegal has been working around the clock in the past few years with a number of countries and partners to expand electricity coverage to its rural communities, including 150 villages in the north of the country.
One of these countries is Morocco, which is helping this West African nation of 13 million people improve its energy sypply through two major power projects.
The two projects were said to serve the provinces of Louga and Saint-Louis, at a cost of US$4-million, according to Morocco’s senior energy official Sadouk Abdessamad.
Last year, Morocco sent equipment and manpower, including experts, technicians and engineers, on the ground to help speed up the process. Teams from both countries were said to be working together – a feat analysts believe will help the Senegalese learn a lot about rural electrification from their Moroccan colleagues.
The Senegalese government said its aim was to reach 50% of rural access by 2017. The country’s current rural electrification rate stands at 27%, according to the Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie (ANSD).
Senegal also signed another energy deal with Tunisia worth US$14 million to help electrify 111 districts in Mbour in the next 18 months. Mbour, located 80km south of the capital Dakar, is a small city in the province of Thies.
The 111 districts to be electrified include 9700 households and 39 schools.
Another deal involving rural electrification, signed with Enco-Isophoton with the assistance of Germany, will see certain rural areas of Kaolack and Fatick being electrified. The project will serve 364 000 households in 475 villages, 250 villages of which via solar power.
The deal is worth US$1.4 million.
The government has openly admitted that Senegal was facing an electricity crisis, but said the country will start reaching out to renewable energy to help boost its stressed power capacities.
“Our aim is to reach 15% of renewable energy by 2015,” former PM Abdoul Mbaye revealed.
While the government is twisting and turning to find ways of providing power to rural communities, some international organisations have also stepped in to help. This is the case of Germany-based Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which has made electricity for Senegal’s rural communities its number one priority.
GIZ said in its website that it has since 2004 assisted the Senegalese Government and local businesses in efforts to provide energy access.
Through its award-winning innovative business methods, GIZ said its aim was to provide power to 265 remote villages with a total population of 90 000 by 2016. The programme also receives funding from the Netherlands, GIZ said.
Photo by Parternariat Afrique-UE