In a collaborative initiative, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have joined efforts to operationalize the ‘Desert to Power program’ in eleven countries including Sudan. In his key note remarks at the opening session on 25 July 2017 in Khartoum, Abdul Kamara, Manager of AfDB’s Sudan Country Office said that the objective of the Initiative is to transform precarious situations in the desert part of Africa into development opportunities for local communities. He reiterated that this would be achieved through integrated interventions that combine energy solutions, agricultural value chain and building resilience to climate change that promotes industrialization. On his part, the Resident Representative of FAO emphasized that Sudan has expansive arable lands under the gum belt together with significant renewable energy potentials which need to be tapped.
As part of the initiative, an AfDB project identification mission is in Sudan on the backdrop of the FAO’s Consultation Workshop on project preparation for Green Climate Fund, and will be in Sudan from 24 – 27 July, to carry out consultations with key partners in the government and other development agencies in Khartoum as part of the Desert to Power Initiative. The mission aims to mobilize co-financing from the Green Climate Fund for the implementation of the Pan African Agency of the Great Green Wall Programme. The workshop is a prelude to a technical meeting to be held at AfDB headquarters in September 2017. This forthcoming meeting which is being organized in collaboration with FAO, the Great Green Wall, and other development partners, will develop a common road map and financing strategies for the next 3 to 5 years.
This brainstorming session on energy is timely for Sudan given that the country projects to increase its access to electricity by 13% each year to reach universal access by 2025. This will require on grid and off-grid solutions, taking advantage of Sudan’s potential in different sources of energy. As often remarked by President Adesina, “Power is the overriding African Priority. It is almost impossible to start a business, agribusiness for example, without power and light.” Thus stopping the vicious cycle of rural poverty, youth unemployment and climate change (“the triangle of disaster”) starts with providing access to electricity to fuel households and businesses. The end result is to promote resilience to climate change in many of the 11 member- countries of the Great Green Wall Initiative. The countries include Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Senegal and Sudan.
Illustration Photo: A farmer collects the remains of the harvest in her land at the outskirts of Madjoub village, North Darfur. The water from the rainy season (June-September) is already gone and the farmers reported they don't have enough water to grow their cultivation during the dry season. The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) with its implementing partner Practical Action is assessing the needs of a 50-kilometer-long-area of El Kua river, near El Fasher, to invest 7 million dollars in helping farmers to increase their production, keeping the environment, with new technologies and a better management of the livestock and natural resources. (credits: Albert González Farran, UNAMID / Flickr Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))