Africa Minigrids Program Eswatini


PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Africa Minigrids Program – Eswatini (AMP) is a United Nations Development Program (UNDP)-supported and Global Environment Fund (GEF)-financed program which aims to support African countries, including Eswatini, to increase energy access by reducing the cost and increasing commercial viability of renewable energy (RE) minigrids. Its implementation period in Eswatini is 2022 to 2026.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Minigrids have been identified as a solution to meet the growing electricity demand while contributing to clean and affordable energy. Although technology advances and downward cost trends have markedly improved the business case for mini-grids in many countries, they are not yet competitive with fossil fuel-based alternatives. Therefore, AMP is expressly targeting early-stage minigrid markets, seeking to establish the enabling environ­ment for subsequent private investment at scale. It proposes using a combination of enabling policy and regulations, private sector engagement, business model innovation and financing as the levers to lower investment risks. This will reduce finance

electricity supply lines at a homestead

Fig 1: Picture of electricity supply lines at a homestead in the rural areas.

The AMP is a country-led tech­nical assistance program for minigrids, active in an initial 21 African countries. This comprehensive program is also a multi-partner effort. With GEF funding, UNDP will be implementing the program together with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the African Development Bank (AfDB), linking up with a wide array of minigrid stakeholders in Africa and beyond. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Energy and Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority are the local implementing partners.

The AMP aims to achieve the following:

  • enabling environment for the deployment of minigrids in the Eswatini in order to provide electricity to remote communities where grid access is not possible;

  • promote participation of private sector in minigrids development and improve productive use of energy in those communities to support local livelihoods.

  • increase access to affordable and clean energy.

This program will increase opportunities for economic activity in the beneficiary areas. Furthermore, the program intends to decrease rural-urban migration as it increases economic activities in rural areas.

Expected Results

60 residential customers
06 commercial customers
03 productive use customers
About 500 beneficiaries
50% women

minigrid at Sigcineni area

Fig 2: Picture of the minigrid at Sigcineni area.