The Bank of Industry Limited (BoI) has bagged a Karlsruhe sustainable development award for its pioneering role in the massive deployment of off-grid electrification projects in some select rural communities across the country.
The ‘Outstanding Sustainable Project Financing’ award was given to the bank recently at the 2017 edition of the Global Sustainable Conference, held in Karlsruhe, Germany.
The award recognizes outstanding success in long – term financing of exemplary industrial/commercial or infrastructure projects that benefit local communities, protect the environment and ensure reliable returns to investors and lenders.
Recall that access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all falls under item seven of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In partnership with the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, the development finance institution, through its Access to Renewable Energy (AtRE) project, is already piloting the deployment of micro-grid and stand-alone solar solutions in the off-grid communities across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria.
Also, the Bank had, last year, signed a $2million (approximately N880m), pact with the UNDP for the implementation of the second phase of the solar power electrification projects.
Reacting to the development, the Bank Managing Director, Olukayode Pitan, said the recognition bestowed on the DFI underscored its unwavering commitment to the fulfilment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
He said, “The award will further motivate the Bank and its Development Partner (UNDP) to increase its investment in the solar electrification space. This is because the absence of electricity is a major constraint to the social and economic development of the rural communities in particular, and the country in general.
According to him, the implementation of the solar projects has improved livelihood, promote technology transfer, protect lives and curb the usual rural-urban drift in the benefitting communities.
Pitan also outlined the bank’s vision in the area of rural electrification, saying, “In order to achieve universal access to energy for inclusive growth across Nigeria, it is imperative that clean energy solutions are deployed for both residential and productive uses.
“In view of BOI’s mandate to transform Nigeria’s Industrial sector, and the significant role that the availability of reliable power supply for MSMEs plays to actualize this mandate, the Bank has an outlook to achieve provision of solar electricity to serve various industrial clusters of micro and small businesses at the bottom of the pyramid, as well as for medium scale enterprises which can power their business operations with clean energy in a profitable manner.”
He also expressed the determination of the bank to replicate and scale up of rural off-grid projects in at least one off-grid community in each of the thirty-six states of Nigeria, with a focus to also providing solar electricity for more MSMEs, apart from the households within these target communities.