IFC to invest $25m in MENA renewable energy

A leading branch of the World Bank Group has announced this week that it is to finance $25 million worth of clean power investments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will plow the equity monies into Alcazar Energy, a pioneering power company, for the development and ongoing operation of solar and wind power plants across MENA.

As demand for power in the region grows, supply has been found to be in short supply in many parts of MENA, with a recent World Bank study indicating that demand for power in MENA is set to grow by 84% by 2020.

To bridge this gap, renewable energy investment will be required – estimated at a total of around $280 billion. "Power shortages are a key barrier to economic growth and development across the MENA region," said IFC regional director for MENA Mouayed Makhlouf. "By harnessing the region’s considerable renewable potential, we can increase supply of sustainable, clean energy, helping to boost economic growth and alleviate poverty."

According to Alcazar Energy chairman and co-founder Maroun Semaan, the IFC’s investment will go some way towards boosting power generation in the region, tapping into MENA’s "massive solar potential" in the process.

The IFC is employing a wider development strategy in MENA that is focused on upgrading infrastructure in a number of countries in the region by fostering regional integration and helping companies – including energy companies – expand operations to different parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

Although the MENA region rarely acts as a single collective of countries, data from a recent DNV GL survey concluded that the region plans to add some 75 GW of solar PV capacity by 2030.