World Bank approves grants to improve access to electricity in Haiti

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved two grants totaling US$35 million to improve access to electricity for more than two million Haitians, and to scale-up investments in renewable energy in underserved rural and urban areas.

In an announcement made last week, the World Bank said two projects, Renewable Energy for All and Haiti Modern Energy Services for All, are designed to provide the following:

  • Improve the environment for private investment in clean energy; 
  • Expand access for rural households through leveraged investments in micro and mini-grids, and village level systems; 
  • Strengthen the capacity of local institutions and develop awareness of local communities on how to use renewable energy; 
  • Finance private operators, NGOs and Community Organizations to provide solar lanterns, and individual and home-based solar systems.

Both projects will be implemented by the energy cell of the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and Communications (MTPTC in French).

Renewable Energy for All is financed by a $19.62 million grant from the Scaling-up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program (SREP); and Modern Energy Services for All is financed by a $15.65 million grant from the Clean Technology Fund.

Both grants are from the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) and are part of the World Bank’s accelerated effort to provide clean energy and resilient infrastructure.

“Haiti has significant untapped sources of renewable energy,” said Anabela Abreu, World Bank’s country director for Haiti. “The country is taking an important step in creating the enabling environment for private investors and in boosting access to electricity. The World Bank Group will continue to support the country in providing sustainable renewable energy to increase access for families, businesses and community services in underserved areas, diversify its energy mix, and reduce electricity cost.”

The World Bank says its $839 million SREP is a funding window of the CIF, designed to empower transformation in developing countries by demonstrating the economic, social and environmental viability of renewable energy.

Channeled through five multilateral development banks, SREP financing supports scaled-up deployment of renewable energy solutions to increase energy access and economic opportunities.

To date, $264 million is approved and under implementation for 23 projects and programs, expecting $1.9 billion in co-financing from other sources.

A February report titled, “Haiti: Humanitarian Response Plan January 2017 — December 2018,” from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country Team in Haiti, describes desperate needs for the country.

In its section on the overview of the crisis in Haiti, the report says, “With more than a half of its total population living in extreme poverty, Hurricane Matthew, [which struck Haiti on Oct. 4, 2016], has once more demonstrated Haiti’s weakened ability to cope, recover and adapt to shocks from natural disasters. Meanwhile, as a result of electoralrelated tensions, politically motivated demonstrations and insecurity have affected the humanitarian operating environment since mid-2015 against the backdrop of a decreasing humanitarian presence in the field due to the lack of humanitarian funding.”

The UN estimates 2.7 million people will require humanitarian, protection or early recovery assistance in 2017, of which 2.4 million will be targeted countrywide.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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