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The European Investment Bank (EIB), World Bank and European Union (EU) have agreed to support a renewable energy programme in Gambia, West Africa.

The programme will ensure that 1,100 rural schools and health centres will benefit from an energy supply using solar and battery technology.

The EU will provide €106m for this project, whilst the EIB will offer a €65m concessional loan and the World Bank will provide €35.7m. The scheme will be implemented by Gambian electricity utility company NAWEC.

“The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting climate action around the world. As the EU Bank, the EIB is pleased to support our first project in the Gambia since 1991”

Once operational, the programme is expected to increase the energy supply in the Gambia by 20%. It will also enhance electricity access in rural communities through the construction of a new photovoltaic plant at Jambur.

In addition to ensuring energy access to education and health services, the project will help to address power shortages in the country.

EIB Energy vice president Andrew McDowell said: “The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting climate action around the world. As the EU Bank, the EIB is pleased to support our first project in the Gambia since 1991 and provide EUR 65 million for this transformational project in cooperation with Gambian, international and European partners.

“Connecting one of the largest solar power plants in West Africa to communities across the Gambia will increase access to clean energy, create new economic opportunities and improve health and education for future generations.”

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