IFC-backed 40MW solar project in Afghanistan a model for 2GW target

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IFC’s PPP advisory experts will support the government in attracting solar companies to develop the PV capacity. Credit: Zularistan Energy

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has signed an agreement with the government of Afghanistan to design and tender a 40MW solar plant that will set a new model for subsequent projects and support the country’s 2GW of PV goal.

The 40MW alone will more than double the country’s current solar energy capacity, where development is ongoing on 10MW, 15MW and 20MW projects.

IFC’s PPP advisory experts will support the government in attracting solar companies to develop the PV capacity. This effort will be funded by the UK Department of International Development (DFID) through DevCo, a multi-donor facility affiliated with the Private Infrastructure Development Group, and by the Global Infrastructure Facility. 

Only around 28% of Afghans are connected to the grid, having suffered from decades of armed conflict. The country also imports up to 80% of its energy and frequent blackouts can last up to 15 hours a day in some parts of the country, said the IFC in a release.

Mohammad Humayon Qayoumi, Afghanistan’s finance minister, said: “This public-private partnership would play a pivotal role in helping provide access to more reliable and predictable electricity services that will have a positive impact on businesses and households in Afghanistan.”

Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Given the scale of Afghanistan’s needs, the private sector has the potential to be transformative in supporting the country’s infrastructure development. IFC will bring its global experience in PPPs to help identify, prioritize, structure, and tender the project that support government priorities in developing the vital renewable energy sector.” 

IFC, a sister organization of the World Bank, has already invested around US$216 million in projects based in Afghanistan, including in the telecommunications, hospitality, and financial sectors.

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