By Amba Mpoke-Bigg

The third ministerial meeting of the 5 Sahel countries of the Desert to Power initiative has taken place under the theme “Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships in the implementation of the Desert to Power Initiative.”

Representatives of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger attended the meeting held on 8 December 2022 in the Mauritanian capital. The African Development Bank Group, in collaboration with Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines, organized it to create awareness and visibility for the power initiative and promote strategic solar investment in the Sahel countries as a major contribution to fighting climate change.

Desert to Power is the African Development Bank Group’s renewable energy and economic development initiative that aims to light up and power the Sahel region by building 10GW of electricity capacity through solar energy systems, as well as grid and off-grid projects, by 2030.

The meeting was opened by the Mauritanian Minister of Energy, Abdessalem Ould Mohamed Saleh, the African Development Bank Group’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Dr. Kevin Kariuki and the Chairman of the Desert to Power Steering Committee Mustapha Bakkoury.

During the meeting, participants reviewed progress on the implementation of the Desert to Power Initiative in the five countries and discussed deepening cooperation with the private sector as a way to accelerate it.

The ministers reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to the Desert to Power initiative and lauded the progress made by the initiative, highlighting particularly the successful resource mobilization efforts and partnerships. Ministers also underscored the urgency of translating identified priority projects into concrete Megawatts and connections on the ground. 

“We thank the Bank for the great efforts made by the Desert to Power Taskforce in implementing the national roadmaps validated in 2020, showcasing the great partnership between us and the Bank through this joint initiative designed to accelerate universal access in the Sahel,” said Minister Abdessalem Ould Mohamed Saleh on behalf of his counterparts.

The ministers also agreed to develop a common protocol and standardized documentation to facilitate the deployment of Independent Power Producer projects, to pursue a concerted approach to the roll-out at scale of green mini-grids and to establish a Desert to Power Private Sector Engagement Platform (PSEP) to scale up the mobilization of private capital.

The meeting concluded with the adoption of the Nouakchott declaration. It was followed by a steering committee meeting of the Desert to Power Initiative in a hybrid format which provided additional guidance in relation to the proposals for increased private sector engagement.

Kariuki said, “We have a unique opportunity to work together to see our vision of the Sahel region as a renewable energy powerhouse become a reality.”

The next ministerial meeting will be hosted by the Republic of Niger in 2023.

Nouakchott declaration



  • Amba Mpoke-Bigg, Communication and External Relations Department, African Development Bank, email sends e-mail)
  • Technical Contact: Franklin Gbedey, Division Manager, Renewable Energy, African Development Bank