Damilola Shittu – Abuja
The United Nations has thrown its weight behind the quest of the African Development Bank to provide electricity to 250 million people in Africa through its ‘Desert to Power’ electricity initiative.
A statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday revealed that the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, threw his weight behind the project at a meeting with the AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, in New York.
Development impact on the continent and security in the Sahel were among the top issues discussed by both multilateral leaders as they agreed to strengthen ties and push development agenda in Africa.
According to the statement, both leaders also agreed that current efforts must succeed in Africa, or risk failing globally, and they emphasised the need for deeper collaboration between their institutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Guterres signalled his strong support for the AfDB’s flagship ‘Desert to Power’ initiative.
The $10bn initiative to build a 10 GW solar zone across the Sahel aims to develop and provide 10 GW of solar energy by 2025 and supply 250 million people with green electricity including in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Adesina was quoted to have said, “Secretary General Guterres and I had a highly productive engagement and committed to enhancing strategic and operational partnerships between the UN and the AfDB.
“I am encouraged by the Secretary General’s generous support for the bank’s development initiatives, which we are certain will bear fruit across the continent.”
Adesina also briefed the Secretary-General about ongoing discussions on the bank’s General Capital Increase designed to address Africa’s growing lending demands.
The Secretary-General committed to advocating “the mobilisation of adequate resources in order to further the bank’s development goals.”