By Constance Athekame
The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) and the Africa Mini-Grid Developers Association (AMDA) on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and accelerate mini-grid development in Nigeria.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Abuja, Mr Salihijo Ahmad, Managing Director of REA said that the MoU would focus on knowledge sharing, capacity building, and better coordination of the sector, amongst other initiatives.
Ahmad said that Nigeria had one of the largest mini-grid markets in Africa, with over 100 mini-grids currently in operation primarily through the implementation of data-driven programmes and initiatives of the REA.
He, however, said, due to the energy access gap in the country, there was still a significant need for more decentralised energy interventions to bridge the energy deficit and catalyze socio-economic growth.
”Particularly in rural underserved, and underserved communities hard hit with energy poverty.
”As part of the REA’s vision and strategic roadmap, the agency has, over the years expanded its partnership portfolio, while collaborating with forward-leaning stakeholders across the off-grid energy value chain,” Ahmad said.
According to him, with the pivotal role and sustained impact of AMDA in Africa’s renewable energy space, the partnership is a significant step for the mini-grid sector in the country.
He said that the partnership underscored a shared commitment to research, data-driven decision-making, and the establishment of robust industry standards.
”This strategic approach is pivotal in ensuring the sustainable, secure, and optimal operation of mini-grid systems, thereby contributing to the overall energy landscape in Nigeria.
”With a partnership now sealed through an MoU, the REA and AMDA will collaborate on a non-exclusive basis to further advance access to sustainable electricity for Nigeria and other African countries.
”Through mini-grids and decentralized utilities and ultimately achieve universal access to energy by the year 2030.
”While improving data-driven decision-making and industry knowledge in the off-grid space,” Ahmad said.
The REA MD said the MoU was targeted at promoting sustainable energy access for unserved and underserved communities through private sector development and financing.
He said that the MoU would ultimately enhance policies/regulations and rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies.
Ahmad said, “We are excited to partner with AMDA to further improve the development of mini-grids in Nigeria while deepening the impact of Rural Electrification solutions for socio-economic growth.
“The MoU would further aid the accelerated deployment of mini-grids and provide clean, sustainable, and affordable electricity to more Nigerians.”
On his part, Mr Olamide Niyi-Afuye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AMDA, stressed the association’s dedication to collaborate with REA in nurturing the mini-grid sector in the country.
Niyi-Afuye said that mini-grids had the potential to transform the lives of millions of Nigerians, adding that the partnership was a step in the right direction.
”AMDA is committed to working with all stakeholders to create an enabling environment for the mini-grid sector to scale and achieve sustainability.
“A timely and impact-focused collaboration, the REA-AMDA MoU signifies a significant milestone in the development of mini-grids across Nigeria.
”It equally exemplifies the unified efforts between the public and private sectors, working in lockstep towards the common goal of providing clean, reliable, safe, and affordable electricity for all,’’ he said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Mark Longyen/Bashir Rabe Mani