AfDB report: Opportunities abound in Mali's growing renewable energy sector

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has published a new report on Mali and the country’s current inroads in renewable energy as well as opportunities for scaling-up the sector.

Renewable Energy in Africa: Mali Country Profile, published in partnership with the World Bank’s Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and the government of Mali, is the first in a series on Africa.

The report highlights the growing possibilities in bridging the West African country’s electrification gap, which stands at a 55% and 15% electrification rate for the urban and rural populations, respectively.

According to the AfDB, opportunities abound to develop the country’s solar, hydro, biomass and wind resources, which are currently underutilized. The report points out, for instance, that Mali has the capacity to be one of the largest solar-producing nations in the world with its seven to 10 hours of sunlight per day year-round. In addition, only 250 MW of a potential 1 GW of energy has been developed from harnessing the power of the Niger and Senegal Rivers.

The AfDB report nevertheless found that Mali has a positive track record in developing its energy sector, evidenced by its introduction of various renewable energy technologies as well as its efforts to create a welcoming enabling environment.

Indeed, Ismael Touré, Mali’s National Director of Energy, said, “Current development in the sector remains slow, but the government of Mali aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the national electricity mix to 25% alongside a target for rural electrification of 61% by 2033. We are therefore continuing to work with our partners to make responsible investment in the sector more attractive.”

Florence Richard, AfDB climate change specialist, added,“The future is promising for the development of the renewable energy sector in Mali. It will help reduce the country’s vulnerability to fossil imports and increase energy access for those who need it most.”

The Mali Country Profile draws upon the CIF/AfDB-sponsored Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP) Investment Plan for Mali, which initially approved $40 million in funding for renewable energy initiatives in the country, including nearly $3 million for a solar PV installation, a rural electrification hybrid system project and development of micro and mini hydro power plants.