(Lighting Africa, 27 Feb 2018)
On March 6th, the government of Niger will announce the official launch of a US $7 million line of credit aiming to stimulate the development of a solar home system (SHS) market for products meeting Lighting Global Quality Standards as well as for quality solar pumping systems.
The credit line is part of the World Bank’s Niger Solar Electricity Project (NESAP), and will be implemented by the Government of Niger through eligible national financing institutions, with support from Lighting Africa, the National Center for Solar Energy (CNES) and the Nigerien Rural Electrification Agency (ANPER). Currently, two financing institutions have been identified to access these funds and provide financing to SHS importers and distributors. These financial institutions are SONIBANK (commercial bank) and Capital Finance (micro-financing institution).
This announcement joins other actions undertaken by the Government of Niger in the past year signaling their strong support for market-based off-grid solar energy access solutions:
- In September 2017 an exemption to remove import taxes and VAT on renewable energy products in Niger, including SHS and solar kits, went into effect with support from the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance. This exemption reduces financial barriers for importers and distributors, who are able to pass savings on to end-users, making the products more affordable for those who need them the most.
- As part of the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP), which will target 19 West Africa countries, financial institutions in Niger will be eligible to access a $140 million line of credit designed to attract private sector investment in off-grid electrification.
Lighting Africa, and the World Bank will continue to work closely with the government of Niger and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), ROGEP’s implementing agency, to support them in maximizing the impact of these important policy steps.