The Kenyan government has launched a new program called Kenya National Electrification Strategy (KNES). The ambitious program has been developed in partnership with the World Bank and it aims to provide a roadmap for achieving universal access to electricity for all Kenyans by 2022.

The strategy has identified least-cost options for bringing electricity to households and businesses throughout the country. The KNES leverages on the off-grid options, mini-grids and standalone solar systems that complement grid extension and intensification. The strategy also highlights the crucial role that the private sector will need to play in providing off-grid solutions for Kenyan homes, businesses and community service centres in remote parts of the country.

According to the World Bank, approximately one billion people in the world lack access to electricity. Sub-Saharan Africa, and South Asia are regions most affected by the this deficit. Given the scenario, around 700 million people are expected to continue to live without electricity in 2030 and 90 percent of them will be in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Tremendous achievement in scaling up connectivity has been made over the last few years. Total access to electricity now stands at 75 percent. However, there was a need to come up with a new National Electrification Strategy to deal with the challenges of bringing the entire country under electrification in an economically viable manner,” said Charles Keter, the cabinet secretary at Kenya’s Ministry of Energy, in a press statement.

“The World Bank is committed to helping Kenya extend modern, affordable, reliable, and clean energy services to all its citizens,’’ said World Bank Country Director, Felipe Jaramillo. “Currently, the bank is financing electrification under the ongoing Kenya Electricity Modernization Project (KEMP) and Kenya Off-grid Solar Access Project (KOSAP) which targets to connect 235,000 and 1.3 million new beneficiaries, respectively.”

The electrification strategy aims to deploy geospatial technology to develop a mechanism that provides objective planning data. This data will assist national and county policy makers in making informed decisions regarding grid and off-grid investments required for electric service provision.

Moreover, the Kenyan government has also launched the Electricity Sector Investment Prospectus which presents the investment opportunities in the energy sector over the next five years, valued at about $14.8 billion. The prospectus is expected to help investors and financiers to identify suitable project opportunities. The prospectus covers opportunities in power generation, transmission, distribution, off grid electrification, mini-grids and solar systems for homes and institutions.

The KNES was formulated with support from the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), a partnership between the World Bank Group and 18 development partners to help low and middle-income countries reduce poverty and boost growth, through environmentally sustainable energy solutions.

In May 2018, Mercom reported on the news of the World Bank approving a $180 million fund to support Kenya’s energy sector. The aim was to improve the financial health of Kenya’s Electricity Generation Company Limited (KenGen) and improve private sector financing Kenya’s energy sector.

Only a few days ago, the African Development Bank (AfDB) also announced that it has approved a senior loan of $18.17 million for the development of 50 MW Kopere solar power project in Nandi County, Kenya.

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Shaurya Bajaj is a staff reporter for Mercomindia.com.