WASHINGTON, March 1st, 2019 – Today, the World Bank’s Board of Directors approved a $150 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to provide improved access to electricity services for households, enterprises, and health facilities in Madagascar.
Today, with an electrification rate of only 15%, roughly four fifths of Madagascar remain ‘in the dark’, shutting out large parts of the population from the digital economy and modern public services while severely restricting the country’s competitiveness. Moreover, the lack of electricity disproportionally affects rural areas, the poor, and female-headed households.
“Madagascar’s social and economic development is constrained by the lack of electricity services”, said Coralie Gevers, World Bank Country Manager for Madagascar. “This project will contribute to the Government’s target of doubling electricity access in the country by 2023 through efficient least-cost investments in both grid and off-grid solutions and to the objective of further streamlining sector governance in the interest of scaling up private sector investments in electricity access.”
The Least-Cost Electricity Access Development (LEAD) project will finance cost-effective investments in grid extension and densification using state-of-the-art planning tools and low-cost technologies to maximize the number of new connections per dollar spent. With its off-grid component, LEAD will create one of the largest market development funds in Sub-Saharan Africa to engage both private sector companies and financial institutions in accelerating the scale-up of the market for solar off-grid technology. Through the mutually reinforcing design of grid and off-grid components, the project is expected to electrify a minimum of 1.7 million people including 10,000 enterprises and 750 health centers.
“LEAD will make strategic use of disruptive technologies, including satellite imagery and geospatial analytics to prioritize areas for grid extension, and certified quality solar home systems with advanced battery technology to reach poor households in remote areas much faster and cheaper than any grid-based solution” said Jan Kappen, World Bank Task Team Leader for the operation. “Moreover, the project will foster Malagasy “Fin Tech” innovation by scaling the use of mobile payment systems to channel consumer credit for off-grid solar kits to poor households outside the formal banking system.”