The World Bank has advanced Kenya a Sh4.7 billion loan for funding of solar power projects and provision of clean cooking stoves in 14 marginalised counties.
The debt, under the Kenya-Off-Grid Solar Access Project (Kosap), constitutes of Sh4.2 billion for solar projects to help install solar home systems in the 14 targeted counties.
Sh500 million will be used for buying clean cooking stoves for 1.3 million people in 277,000 households.
The targeted counties include West Pokot, Turkana, Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garrisa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Narok.
The loan adds to Kenya’s piling public debt problem, which has recently come into focus as revenue collection by the taxman failed to keep up with the growing repayment obligations.
Kenya recently turned to the World Bank for a Sh75 billion budget support loan, marking the country’s return to the Bretton Woods institution for the first time in a decade.
“The country has made great strides in achieving connectivity with access to electricity standing at 75 percent through both grid and off-grid options. However, access to electricity is low in the 14 marginalised counties, which represent 72 percent of the country’s total land area and 20 percent of the population. The dispersed settlements in the marginalised counties make off-grid solutions the only viable alternative for access to electricity,” said Ministry of Energy Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge in a statement yesterday.
The loan, which will be administered by the Ministry of Energy, is part of the Sh15 billion Kosap funding from the World Bank intended to ensure counties not served by the national grid have access to energy through off-grid solutions. Kenya Power and the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) are the implementing agencies.
“The World Bank is committed to supporting the Government of Kenya in achieving the universal access goal laid out in the Kenya National Electrification Strategy and is partnering with the Government to ensure that nobody in the target counties is left behind in accessing modern energy services,” said Patrick Thaddayos Balla, the World Bank Kosap Task Team Leader.
Other Kosap components include Sh4 billion ($40 million) mini-grids for community facilities, enterprises and households, and the Sh4 billion ($40 million) for stand-alone solar systems and solar water pumps for community Facilities. Implementation support will be financed to a tune of Sh2.2 billion ($22 million). The project also targets replacing 380 diesel pumps with solar for drinking water.
The RBF and Debt Facilities specifically aim to establish sustainable supply chains for marketing and sales of solar home systems in KOSAP counties. The World Bank approved the International Development Association (IDA) credit of $150 million (Sh15 billion) in 2017.