Joint Press Release Gambia: strong international support for a new era of renewables with inauguration of historic 23 MWp solar plant

                       

Gambia, 14 March 2024

Joint Press Release

Gambia: strong international support for a new era of renewables with inauguration of historic 23 MWp solar plant

  • A significant strategic project with strong substantial economic and social impacts, the recently inaugurated solar photovoltaic plant in Jambur is poised to supply electricity to approximately 18,500 households. This power plant supported by The Government of The Gambia and its development partners is part of a wider initiative aimed at enhancing the contribution of renewable energy within the electricity sector.
  • This plant will be complemented by other critical transmission and distribution upgrades in the NAWEC network to ensure the availability of reliable, clean, and stable energy supplies across The Gambia. At a total cost of $165m, the Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP) financed by the WB, EU & EIB remains the single largest energy project in The Gambia and promises to significantly support the turnaround of the energy sector particularly as the Gambia accelerates its vision towards Universal Access. This project remains a critical anchor towards the implementation and actualization of the Gambia’s long-term energy sector roadmap.
  • The project contributes to gainful employment creation in The Gambia with 1,250 direct jobs created from the construction phase to operation and maintenance. To ensure sustainability, a three-year operations and maintenance contract (O&M) has been signed as large scale solar PV is entirely new to the sector.

The Government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), along with the European Investment Bank, the European Union, and the World Bank, has recently inaugurated a new milestone in the Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP). The Inauguration Ceremony, which was presided over by His Excellency Adama Barrow, the President of the Republic of The Gambia, celebrated the completion of a 23 MWp Photovoltaic Solar plant in Jambur, Kombo South District, West Coast Region.

This project component consists in the construction of a new 23 MWp solar park tied with 8MWh battery storage and aims to revolutionize power generation in the Gambia by serving as a direct complement to current generation sources while decreasing the dependence on import. These investments are all inherently tied to the Gambia’s Energy Sector Roadmap 2021-40.

A project with a strong economic and social impact

GERMP contributes to improving the livelihoods of populations within beneficiary communities, promoting job creation, and facilitating the provision of quality medical, educational and social services through better electricity supply. These improvements will contribute to the national objective of reducing poverty and boosting prosperity.

Now that it is operational, the project will progressively increase energy supply in The Gambia by a fifth and transform access to electricity in rural communities. The project will improve access to energy, ensure that education and health services benefit from reliable energy and help address electricity shortages in the country.

Energy demand in The Gambia has increased by 5.5% per year in recent years and today’s connection of the new 23 MWp solar plant to the national energy grid will significantly increase Gambia’s current generation capacity of 98 MW and enable electrification of rural areas.

A strong commitment

The European Union, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank have been strong partners of African countries for more than half a century. This project further strengthens their presence in Africa with strong collaboration between institutions. Over the past decade, the European Union, the European Investment Bank and the World Bank have invested in innovative technologies, green energy, water, education, agriculture, telecommunications, health and business in more than 40 countries on the continent.

In the context of this project, solar power and clean energy supply across the country is financed by the European Investment Bank (EUR 65m), the European Union (EUR 40m) and the World Bank (EUR 36m).

H.E. Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia

“As this is a utility scale solar PV plant, we have designed it to significantly reduce the country’s reliance on imported fossil fuel for electricity generation. In the same vein, the project is to accelerate the pace towards generating fifty (50) percent of the nation’s power supply from renewable energy sources by 2030. This is our national target, and the message is clear: as a responsible member of the international community, The Gambia is committed to the global energy transition. The Plant project clearly demonstrates the country’s commitment to reducing the carbon footprint and greening our energy landscape. Further to this, as a clean energy source and a major vehicle for climate change mitigation, the solar plant will contribute to the realisation of The Gambia’s Nationally Determined Contributions”.

Mr. Nani Juwara, Managing Director at National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC)

“The significance of this solar plant cannot be overemphasized. It symbolizes our unwavering commitment to driving change and pioneering progress in The Gambia’s transition towards a clean and sustainable energy future. By harnessing the power of the sun to produce 23MW of clean energy, we are not only reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also contributing to environmental protection and safeguarding the well-being of future generations. Moreover, the inauguration of this solar plant marks a crucial milestone in our quest for energy security. By diversifying our energy mix and reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, we are enhancing our energy independence and fortifying the stability and reliability of The Gambia’s power supply system”. 

Mr. Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President at the European Investment Bank (EIB)

“I am delighted that the European Investment Bank is supporting this new solar plan with such economic and social impact for populations in Gambia, particularly in rural areas. It will have a positive impact on people’s daily lives of over 800,000 inhabitants in improving also medical, educational and social services through better electricity supply. This project also contributes to developing green energy while decreasing the dependence on import. It is a very good illustration of the priorities of the EIB as the EU Climate Bank, which supports clean energy investments in Africa.”  He added: “With EIB Global, our branch dedicated to development, our objective is to finance high-impact projects outside the EU while strengthening our partnerships. Our ambition is to support the EU’s Global Gateway Initiative and key sectors in countries across the African continent such as innovation, renewable energy, water, agriculture, and transport.”  

H.E. Corrado Pampaloni, Ambassador of the European Union to The Gambia

“This power plant is part of the “Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project” and it is particularly important for the achievement of a swift transition towards solar power and clean energy supply across the country. Increased access to green energy is only one of the benefits of the project. We expect 1,250 direct jobs linked to the construction, operation and maintenance. The Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project is backed by significant funding from the European Investment Bank (EUR 65m – which corresponds to more than 8.9 billion dalasi), from the European Union (EUR 40m – almost 3 billion dalasi) and from the World Bank (EUR 36m – almost 2.7 billion dalasi). The EU support is part of the EU Global Gateway, which is an ambitious initiative aimed at fostering collaboration and connectivity between Europe and Africa. Through Global Gateway, the EU supports investments in quality infrastructure, respecting the highest social and environmental standards, in line with the EU’s values and international norms and standards. Green energy is a key priority area under the Global Gateway. The Ambassador concluded by saying that “I would like to re-affirm here, today, the commitment of the European Union to support The Gambia to ensure a bright and prosperous future for its people. Reliable access to energy is an indispensable element to realise this vision”.

Feyi Boroffice, Resident Representative of the World Bank to The Gambia

“The World Bank is pleased to join The Government of The Gambia to witness this remarkable milestone in the Energy Sector. This marks the first time in the Gambia’s history where a utility scale solar plant of 23 Megawatts Solar PV capacity and 8-Megawatt hours battery storage is being commissioned. This solar plant allows NAWEC to finally shift away from expensive heavy fuel oil-based generation which is costly and harmful to the environment. The vision of universal access to energy is being supported by the World Bank through the development of medium and low voltage networks across The Gambia. Through the bank financed GERMP and ECOWAS Regional Electricity Access Projects, over 700 communities will be provided electricity for the first time in the country’s history. These are significant historic milestones for The Gambia. There are also plans underway to develop the country’s potential to become an electricity exporter to the sub-region through the development of a 150MW solar park in Soma.”

Note to editors

National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC)

The National Water And Electricity Co. Ltd (NAWEC) is a public limited liability company established in June 1996, mandated to provide electricity, water, and sewerage services in The Gambia. It succeeded the Gambia Utilities Corporation (GUC) and the Utilities Holding Corporation (UHC). NAWEC operates under a Board of Directors, with the Managing Director overseeing operations. While

NAWEC has achieved financial sustainability for normal operations, it lacks resources for system expansion and maintenance.

The Gambia aims to achieve Universal Access to electricity by 2025, as stipulated by H.E President Adama Barrow. NAWEC will implement this goal primarily through its grid infrastructure, benefiting from the country’s favourable geography. A planning instrument, the Universal Access by 2025 Roadmap, has been designed to guide NAWEC in reaching this target and transforming the electricity sector. This roadmap aims to ensure that Gambians have reliable and affordable electricity in the future, with NAWEC evolving into an efficient, self-sustaining national power utility.

About the European Union (EU)

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union made up of 27 European countries. It is based on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, as well as respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. It acts on a global scale to promote the sustainable development of societies, the environment and economies, for the benefit of all.

The EU Delegation to The Gambia acts as the interface between the European institutions and the Government of The Gambia and its population. Over the years, the role of the Delegation has evolved to cover a wide range of issues.

The Delegation’s mandate includes the following:

  • To actively promote the values and policies of the European Union, in an open and equal partnership with the Government and people of The Gambia.
  • To deepen the political dialogue on all issues of mutual interest and to strengthen the partnership.
  • To play a key role in implementing the EU’s development cooperation activities. In The Gambia, these cover a range of target areas such as infrastructure, governance, food security and rural development.
  • To inform The Gambia about the policies and programmes of the European Union, as well as its institutions and values.

The EU support to the “Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project” is part of the EU Global Gateway, which is an ambitious initiative aimed at fostering collaboration and connectivity between Europe and Africa. Through Global Gateway, the EU supports investments in quality infrastructure, respecting the highest social and environmental standards, in line with the EU’s values and international norms and standards. Green energy is a key priority area under the Global Gateway.

About the European Investment Bank (EIB)

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the lending institution of the European Union (EU) owned by its member states. It makes long-term finance available for sound and sustainable investments to help achieve EU policy objectives.

The EIB has been a strong partner of African countries for 60 years. Through EIB Global, the Bank is strengthening its presence in Africa. Over the past decade, the EIB has provided more than €28 billion for investments in innovative technologies, green energy, water, education, agriculture, telecommunications, health and companies in more than 40 countries on the continent.

EIB Global is the specialist arm of the EIB Group dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. EIB Global is designed to foster a strong and focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside other development finance institutions and civil society. EIB Global brings the group closer to local people, businesses and institutions through our offices around the world.

About the World Bank

 The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. Our mission is to end extreme poverty and boost prosperity on a livable planet. .

With 189 member countries, staff from more than 170 countries, and offices in over 130 locations, the World Bank Group is a unique global partnership: five institutions working for sustainable solutions that reduce poverty and build shared prosperity in developing countries. Our core values embody what is most important to us as an institution, and in how we work with each other, our clients and our partners. They guide the decisions we make and the actions we take in carrying out our mission.

The International Development Association (IDA) is the part of the World Bank Group that helps the world’s poorest countries. Established in 1960, IDA aims to reduce poverty by providing zero to low-interest loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions.

Press contacts

National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC)

Mustapha Choi, mchoi@nawec.gm, Tel: +220 283 5949

Website: www.nawec.gm

EIB

Anne-Cécile Auguin, a.auguin@eib.org, Tel:  +352 621 36 19 48

Isabelle Vovor, i.vovor@ext.eib.org, Tel: +225 07 67 47 66 31
Website: www.eib.org/press – Press service : +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

EU

Laura Carpino, laura.carpino@eeas.europa.eu, Tel.: +220 449 5146 / 449 7846

Website: www.eeas.europa.eu/delegations/gambia_en?s=100

WB

Kujeh Kah, kkah@worldbankgroup.org, Tel:  +220 3800449
Website: www.worldbank.org/gambia

Joint Press Release – The Gambia Ushers in New Era of Renewables with Inauguration of Historic 23MW Solar Plant

                              

Joint Press Release

Kombo South District, The Gambia – 29th February 2024

The Gambia Ushers in New Era of Renewables with Inauguration of Historic 23MW Solar Plant

  • Driving Change: A strategic project with a strong economic and social impact.
  • Pioneering Progress: A landmark achievement in the country’s transition towards a clean and sustainable energy future.
  • Clean Energy: Produces 23MW of clean solar power, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to environmental protection.
  • Energy Security: Increases energy independence and strengthens the stability and reliability of The Gambia’s power grid.
  • Economic Growth: Creates jobs, stimulates economic activity, and attracts further investment in renewable energy.
  • Sustainable Future: Paves the way for a more sustainable energy future for The Gambia, aligning with global climate goals.

On Saturday, 9th March 2024, the Government of The Gambia, through the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and The National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC), along with the European Investment Bank, the European Union, and the World Bank, will inaugurate the Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (GERMP) Component 1 – a 23MW PV Solar plant in Jambur, Kombo North District, West Coast Region.

“The Jambur solar plant is a symbol of our commitment to a cleaner, brighter future for The Gambia.” declared His Excellency Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia, who will preside over the inauguration ceremony.

This significant project made possible through the collaboration of the European Investment Bank (EIB), European Union (EU), World Bank, and NAWEC under GERMP, represents a major step forward in diversifying The Gambia’s energy mix and reducing dependence on fossil fuels.

Public Invitation:

The public is warmly invited to join this historic event and witness the inauguration of this transformational project. We look forward to celebrating this pivotal moment in The Gambia’s journey towards a sustainable future.

#JamburSolar #RenewableEnergy #NAWEC #TheGambia #EIB #Worldbank

 

For further information, please contact the NAWEC communications unit Tel: 3664112