Mali - Economic development in rural areas through access to energy
- Selected project
- In progress
Presentation of the NGO
An association created in Marseille in 1976 and now based in Aubagne, the Renewable Energies, Environment and Solidarity Group (REESG) carries out innovative sustainable development projects in the PACA region and in the countries of the South of France.
Preserving the environment, reducing inequality and poverty are the challenges that REESG’ team is trying to meet by implementing energy efficiency projects, the implementation of renewable energies and the development of economic activities.
With a team of more than 230 professionals, REESG has been developing technologies and services to build sustainable industries, integrating the human, social, cultural and economic dimensions of the areas of intervention for 40 years. To this end, the association works closely with local and governmental authorities.
Context of the project
With nearly 15 million inhabitants, Mali faces a growing population (+2.8%) of which 47% is under 14 years of age according to UNICEF figures in 2014.
The Malian economy remains highly dependent on the mining sector and success of agricultural crops, particularly cotton. These productions, subject to variations in world prices and rainfall, are struggling to stimulate real socio-economic development. Mali ranks 179th out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP, 2015).
The commune of Koury located in the Sikasso region (South-East Mali) is characterised, in line with national trends, by population growth (+3.6% per year), a predominantly young population with a persistently low access rate to electricity in rural areas (18% in 2013).
This historic cotton-growing area has seen its economy destabilized by the deregulation of the sector. It is currently being reorganized around several agricultural sectors, the emergence of urban economic poles (Sikasso, Koutiala) and its border position with Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, which is favourable to economic exchanges.
It is in this region that Synergie Solaire supported the project of a first Zone d’Activités Electrifiées (ZAE) in Konseguela in 2014 and 2015 . In view of the success of this project and the capitalisation of experience, REESG has decided to replicate it on a larger scale through the Koury Productive Energy Pole (PEP), which is part of the continuity of the ZAE.
Presentation of the project
The energy problem
Mali, like all neighbouring countries in the sub-Saharan sub-region, faces a major energy challenge: only 18% of rural areas had access to electricity in 2013 (REESG). Rural populations depend on diesel to run the local economy, generators supply village mills, mechanical equipment for craftsmen… Between the unavailability of fuel at certain times and the soaring prices observed for several successive years, local entrepreneurs struggle to maintain their activities. Thus, this energy problem leads to precarious working conditions and does not allow for the sustainable development of the local economy.
The city of Koury is particularly dynamic because of its geographical position: namely a crossroad between two major national roads and close to the Burkinabe border. Therefore the small town attracts many travellers and benefits from significant cross-border trade. It also has another advantage of a power plant and mini-grid that serves some districts of the city from 4pm to midnight. This mini network is operated by the Decentralized Services Company (DSC) Yeelen Kura and is being transferred for management by the national operator EDM, which will provide service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It appears from surveys conducted that the electrical service provided, in terms of operating hours or power quality, does not meet the specific needs of certain network customers such as banks, bakeries or mechanical workshops. On the operator’s side, it is difficult to integrate the demand of these productive customers in its current state, as small businesses operate mainly during the day, and the power demands required for their activities would disrupt the network.
VSEs (Very Small Enterprises) are therefore deprived of access to the energy necessary for their development.
The adopted solutions
Based on the first successful experiment in Konseguela, REESG wishes to replicate this model by adapting it to Koury through the PEP. Through an innovative and sustainable infrastructure, this project aims to provide some 15 rural companies with access to a reliable, continuous, competitive and renewable source of electricity to develop their activities, as well as access to a range of services that will enable them to grow their business.
Access to electricity will be through EDM, through a dedicated line from the power plant to the craftsmen’s site, providing them with the necessary quantity and quality of energy. As artisanal activities are sometimes very energy-intensive over short periods eg; starting up the baker’s kneader, starting up a machine, etc., the PEP site will be equipped with a 100% renewable installation (solar, Jatropha oil) enabling it to ensure independent production sold to EDM under attractive conditions, and autonomy over the hours of power cuts or low voltage. For this purpose, technical equipment allowing for autonomy (5 KWp of PV panels, inverters, chargers, batteries, generator) will be installed.
The management of the cluster, both in terms of energy production, management of the rental parts and the offer of related services, will be the responsibility of the ASAOK (Association des Artisans et Ouvriers de la Commune de Koury). The latter includes about 150 craftsmen and about fifteen tradesmen. In addition, in connection with Synergie Solaire, a monitoring system will be set up.