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Innovative finance and new technology will help to bridge the “last mile” of the infrastructure gap by getting goods and services to end users, and connecting underserved populations to business value chains.

This is according to the African Development Bank. Speaking at the Global Infrastructure Forum 2018 Wale Shonibare, Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation at the AfDB, said the bank’s commitment to connect millions of households under its New Deal on Energy for Africa required flexibility and innovation from both a technology and financial perspective.

“We are looking to connect 200 million households to electricity – 75 million of those will be off-grid,” Shonibare, said.  “Conventional grids cost, on average, US$2 500 per connection in rural communities, whereas minigrids cost between US$500-100 per connection,” he added.

Improving livelihood across the continent

Given the remarkable improvements in the field, Shonibare said there was no doubt as to the role technology could play in the Light Up drive and other key aspects of the Bank’s development agenda. Smart technologies, creative financing models could facilitate business and inclusiveness, improving livelihoods across the continent.

“We have to look for more ways of scaling up access,” Shonibare said.

Global Infrastructure Forum

The Global Infrastructure Forum takes place annually and brings together private sector investors with representatives from the United Nations and leaders from the major multilateral development banks namely:

  • the African Development Bank,
  • Asian Development Bank,
  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank,
  • European Bank for Reconstruction and Development,
  • European Investment Bank,
  • Inter-American Development Bank,
  • International Finance Corporation,
  • Islamic Development Bank,
  • New Development Bank, and
  • the World Bank

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