Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) recently signed a Dh33 million ($90.6 million) loan agreement with the Government of Mali to finance a hybrid solar energy project in Mali.

The signing ceremony was held at the ADFD headquarters in Abu Dhabi, UAE that was attended by Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director general of ADFD, and Mamadou Frankaly Keita, Minister of Energy and water, Republic of Mali.

The project aims to contribute to the economic development of Mali through the optimal deployment of its renewable energy resources, reducing the cost of electricity on Mali where power generation is largely dependent on diesel.

The project will have positive impacts on the lives of rural population in the country through the supply of solar-powered electricity to 30 villages, benefiting nearly 123,000 people.

The initiative will also boost job creation and economic activity in the region through the construction, operation and maintenance works that the project will involve. Additionally, the provision of electricity will improve the quality of healthcare and education in the areas served by the project.

Al Suwaidi said: “Given the critical role of the renewable energy as a key enabler of sustainable development, ADFD is keen to finance vital projects in this sector to help developing countries unlock their potential. In line with this priority, ADFD supports countries that lack access to sufficient energy sources through enabling them to utilize their renewable sources.”

“The development of such massive projects in Mali will help create hundreds of job opportunities for its citizens and increase their contribution to nation building and development, while attracting new investments to the country to achieve sustainable development.”

In its priority to support renewable energy sector, ADFD in 2009 committed Dh1.285 billion ($350 million) towards the deployment of renewable energy in developing countries across seven loan cycles. ADFD agreed to provide loans worth Dh183 million annually in each cycle to finance renewable energy projects in IRENA member countries.

The hybrid solar project is being funded as part of the Dh150.6 million ($41 million) second cycle of the ADFD/Irena Project Facility that was announced at the end of 2013. This cycle provides concessionary loans to six renewable energy projects in Ecuador, Maldives, Mali, Samoa Islands, Mauritania and Sierra Leone.

The financed projects have a combined total capacity of 21MW and will bring reliable and sustainable power to rural communities that currently lack access to a modern energy grid.

The first and second cycles of ADFD/Irena Project Facility provided $98 million in loans to fund 11 projects in Ecuador, Maldives, Mali, Samoa Island, Mauritania (two projects), Sierra Leone, Argentina, Cuba, Iran, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The loans were approved following close collaboration between ADFD and Irena to assess and select the projects that meet specific criteria.

“The Republic of Mali is keen to promote stronger synergies with ADFD in the area of financing development projects that serve key economic sectors and improve the standard of living for the people of Mali,” said Keita.

“The bilateral relations between Mali and the UAE have witnessed remarkable progress over the past few years due to the continued efforts of the UAE to support stability and progress in Mali through providing precious development assistance.”

Source: Trade Arabia