Tunisia Launches First Privately Funded Solar Project

by Adenike Adeodun

Tunisia is making waves in the green energy sector. The country is set to roll out its first privately-backed solar project. This initiative aims to cut power costs and reduce yearly greenhouse gas emissions by over 90,000 metric tonnes. Thus, they’re heading towards a more eco-friendly future.

On the 26th of September, key players gathered in Al Qasba, Tunis. The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) joined hands. Together with the International Finance Corporation and the UAE’s AMEA Power, they forged a promising pact, as reported by ESI Africa.

The project’s heart is in Tunisia’s Kairouan governorate. Here, an $86 million solar powerhouse will rise. The AfDB is chipping in with a whopping $26 million in financing. Furthermore, SEFA, known for supporting green ventures, will provide $13 million. Also, the plant will be in El Metbassta, about 150km from Tunis.

This Kairouan solar plan is not just about electricity. Tunisia has a larger goal in mind. They plan to lessen their reliance on natural gas. So, by 2030, they aim to get 35% of their energy from renewable sources.

Hela Cheikhrouhou from IFC praised the venture. She said it reinforces the importance of the private sector in energy shifts. Moreover, it fosters collaborations with emerging markets.

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s VP for Africa, chimed in too. He believes the project serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it promises cleaner energy for Tunisia. Secondly, it beckons more green investors. He said, “Together with AMEA Power, we’re paving the way in North Africa against climate change.”

Malinne Blomberg, from AfDB, shared her insights. She said the Kairouan Solar Project is more than just eco-friendly. It embodies the power of teamwork. “Today’s milestones set the stage for a green wave in Africa,” she commented.

Dr Kevin Kariuki, AfDB’s VP, weighed in on the landmark deal. “With this project, we’re steering Tunisia towards its 35% green energy target,” he said. This effort is a joint venture with the Tunisian government, AMEA Power, and SEFA.

Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the project stands tall. Hussain Al Nowais, from AMEA Power, expressed his pride in the initiative. SEFA plays a crucial role in this. They have cushioned the project against pandemic-induced costs. Hence, the Kairouan Solar venture is on track to be Tunisia’s top solar IPP.

In wrapping up, Wale Shonibare from AfDB highlighted teamwork. “This move, backed by our combined efforts, mirrors our joint dream for a greener Tunisia,” he concluded.

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