The Rural Electrification Agency (REA) on Tuesday signed an agreement with the Africa Mini-Grid Developers Association (AMDA) to promote mini-grid development in Nigeria.
The two groups signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would focus on knowledge sharing, capacity building, and better coordination to accelerate the growth of the sector.
Nigeria is reputed to be one of the largest mini-grid markets in Africa, with over 100 mini-grids currently in operation primarily through the implementation of data-driven programmes and initiatives of the REA.
However, the agency said due to the prevailing energy access gap in the country, there was still a significant need for more decentralized energy interventions to bridge the energy deficit and catalyze socio-economic growth, particularly in rural underserved, and underserved communities hard hit with energy poverty.
As part of the REA’s vision and strategic roadmaps, it’s partnership portfolios have over the years been expanded, while collaborating with forward-leaning stakeholders across the off-grid energy value chain to remedy the situation.
The Managing Director/CEO of REA, Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, said on Tuesday during the agreement signing that the pivotal role and sustained impact of AMDA in Africa’s renewable energy space has been of great encouragement to the agency to take steps to change the situation.
“The REA–AMDA partnership is a significant step forward for the mini-grid sector in Nigeria as it underscores a shared commitment to research, data-driven decision-making, and the establishment of robust industry standards,” Ahmad said.
He said the partnership was a strategic approach that would be pivotal in ensuring the sustainable, secure, and optimal operation of mini-grid systems, thereby contributing to the overall energy landscape in Nigeria.
With a partnership now sealed through a Memorandum of Understanding, the MD said the REA and AMDA would collaborate on a non-exclusive basis to further advance access to sustainable electricity for Nigerians and other African countries through mini-grids and decentralized utilities, and ultimately achieve universal access to energy by the year 2030.
While improving data-driven decision-making and industry knowledge in the off-grid space, he said the MoU was targeted at promoting sustainable energy access for unserved and underserved communities through private sector development and financing.
This arrangement, he pointed out, would ultimately enhance policies/regulations and rapid deployment of renewable energy technologies.
On the strategic alliance between both institutions, Ahmad expressed the enthusiasm enthusiasm of the REA to have the MoU in place, saying: “We are excited to partner with AMDA to further improve the development of mini-grids in Nigeria, while deepening the impact of RE solutions for socio-economic growth.
“This MOU will further aid the accelerated deployment of mini-grids and provide clean, sustainable, and affordable electricity to more Nigerians,” he added.
On his part, the CEO of AMDA, Olamide Niyi-Afuye, underscored the importance of the partnership, while expressing their dedication to continue to work with REA in nurturing the mini-grid sector in Nigeria.
“Mini-grids have the potential to transform the lives of millions of Nigerians. This partnership is a step in the right direction. AMDA is committed to working with all stakeholders to create an enabling environment for the minigrid sector to scale and achieve sustainability,” he said.
He described the REA-AMDA MoU as a timely and impact-focused collaboration, which signifies a significant milestone in the development of mini-grids across Nigeria.
He said it equally exemplifies the unified efforts between the public and private sectors working in lockstep towards the common goal of providing clean, reliable, safe, and affordable electricity for all.
REA is the Implementing Agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) under the Federal Ministry of Power tasked with the electrification of unserved and underserved communities to catalyze economic growth and improve quality of life for Nigerians.
The Agency, which was established under part IX, Sections 88- 89 of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA), 2005, is currently implementing the Rural Electrification Fund (REF), Capital Projects, Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP), Solar Power Naija (SPN), Energizing Education Programme (EEP), Energizing Economies Initiative (EEI), Energizing Agriculture Programme (EAP), Energy for All – Mass Rural Electrification and Research and Innovation Hub.
Africa Mini Grids Programme and Derisking Sustainable Off-Grid Lighting Solutions.
The Agency is responsible for creating an enabling environment for private sector-led projects, which includes conducting feasibility assessments, energy audits, enumeration, data analysis, identification of qualified private sector developers, and project stakeholder engagements.
The Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA) is an industry association created by private sector minigrid developers and operators, donors, and investors to improve political economic environments for minigrid companies.
The association has 43 member companies operating in 20 countries in Africa, with a combined portfolio of around 600 minigrids in operation providing electricity services to about 150,000 customers, impacting the lives of more than 750,000 people.