By Alagie Manneh in Qatar
The European Investment Bank (EIB) on Tuesday signed a cooperation agreement to advance sustainable investments in The Gambia under the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. The financing facility package, approximately 24 million euros, will accelerate the implantation of green transition and access to renewable electricity in The Gambia, under the Gambia Renewable Energy Project (GREP). More than 1000 rural schools and 100 health centres will benefit from solar panels, battery technology and network connectivity. The grant will be used alongside an 8 million euros EIB loan to support the implementation of a renewable energy on and off-grid generation, transmission and distribution programme across the country.
The signing took place on the margins of the 5th UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), currently underway in Qatar, Doha.
Speaking at the event, Seedy Keita, the minister of finance, said: “This financial support will provide clean uninterrupted electricity to 1000 schools across the country. It will also go on to support the availability of electricity to 100 health centres across the country. This is very timely in the sense that a number of women have difficulties in giving birth under very trying conditions, and the storage of essential drugs and medications without electricity pose a challenge to our health care delivery. To show the importance of the project, we are also pleased to announce that our National Assembly yesterday ratified this agreement and as soon as we signed this agreement it will come into force.
“Our sincere thanks and appreciation to the European team, EU Commission, and the EIB for availing us a financing facility package of 24 million euros to address the most underserved communities in The Gambia,” minister Keita said.
The EU commissioner for international partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said: “Affordable, reliable and sustainable access to electricity for all is a global gateway priority. It increases strategic autonomy, and without electricity, communities cannot benefit from new technologies in full. I am delighted to sign this €24 million grant agreement for solar panels to power up schools and health centres in The Gambia. This fantastic green energy project, I think it’s a typical win-win for climate and for human development.”
EIB vice president Thomas Östros said investment in The Gambia’s energy infrastructure is essential to improve economic opportunities as well as better daily lives. “The EIB welcomes in particular the additional Team Europe grant support in cooperation with Gambian, international and European partners. Together, this scheme will enable The Gambia to be the first country in Africa to provide renewable energy electrification for all public schools and health facilities,” Thomas said.