Mapping and Assessment of Existing Clean Energy Mini-Grid Experiences in West Africa


Eseoghene Larkwei HOBSON



Main Geographic Focus: 



Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Cote d Ivoire
Sierra Leone

RE&EE Category Taxonomy: 

  • Mini-Grid Systems

File Tag: 

  • Key statistics
  • Awareness
  • Technical Research


The benefits of electricity have been well established which brings about socio-economic development and improves the quality of life. However, for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), having an average of 34%1 national electrification rate deprives it of the full benefits. Furthermore, if the challenges of the low electricity access are not overcome, studies point to the fact that it will be impossible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Recognizing this, the region has committed itself to achieving universal access by 2030. Instrumental is improving the rural electrification rate currently at an average of 18%2. Clean Energy Mini-Grids (CEMGs) will be one of the approaches taken to improve rural electrification, which is estimated to cater for 25% of the rural population with a target of 128,000CEMGs.

Although progress is being made, the implementation pace is slow with less than 300 operational CEMGs in the region with very few countries being at the forefront and the others trailing, no country is on track. Achieving significant results will involve all stakeholders, (government, private sectors, development partners, financial institutions), technologies, business models etc.

The report aims to close the wide gap in terms of information and analysis of field experiences. The extracted information is to be used to build the capacities of policy and decision makers, project promoters and investors to improve the enabling environment in order to accelerate CEMG investments in ECOWAS member states.

Not all countries in the region have the right enabling policies and regulatory frameworks to attract private participation. This as well as challenges in access to finances to implement sustainable projects are some of the barriers hampering the scale-up of deployment of CEMG systems. The right financial scheme, management models, technology and customer base are key elements in having sustainable models, but it is also important to state that no single business model provides a universal solution, collectively all models have to be implemented to accelerate rural electrification in the region.

Finally, all stakeholders have major roles to play with the government providing enabling environment in terms of policies and reducing the risks and uncertainties in order to attract private participations, the private operators bringing their experiences and investments, and the populace accepting the change.

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