The debt, under the Kenya-Off-Grid Solar Access Project (Kosap), constitutes of Sh4.2 billion ($42 million) for solar projects to help install solar home systems in the 14 targeted counties and Sh500 million ($5 million) to be used for buying clean cooking stoves for 1.3 million people in 277,000 households.
“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 targeted counties set to benefit from the loan include West Pokot, Turkana, Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita Taveta and Narok.
“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,” Patrick Thaddayos Balla, the World Bank Kosap Task Team Leader said.
The loan, which will be administered by the Ministry of Energy, is part of the Sh15 billion ($150 million) 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 loan, however, adds to Kenya’s piling public debt problem, which has recently come into sharp focus as the country turns to foreign countries and international financial institutions more and more to fund its ‘bloated budget’.