The international development entity has already invested $1 billion in local, off-grid electricity networks over the last decade – and attracted a further $1.1 billion in matched funding – and wants to set up mini-grids to supply electricity to 490 million people by 2030.

The World Bank is aiming to provide electricity to 490 million people this decade by installing 210,000 mini-grids, a webinar focusing on the local networks in Africa has heard.

Tatia Lemondzhava, an energy specialist at the multilateral development finance institution, told an event organized by Solarplaza, falling prices could see mini-grids offer electricity to 500 million people by 2030, the deadline for achieving the United Nations sustainable development goal of providing universal energy access.

With Bangladesh preparing to announce on Monday that it has achieved that historic goal, the online event predicted Nigeria would need US$10 billion of the US$200 billion the World Bank estimates will be needed to supply universal access in sub-Saharan Africa.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, and Sudan will each need US$7-10 billion, according to Lemondzhava, and each of Angola, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mozambique, Niger, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe will require US$4-7 billion of investment.

Some US$155 billion of the US$200 billion total will be needed for household electricity access – US$62 billion on off-grid systems and US$93 billion for the expansion of grid networks – and a further US$40 billion would fund panels for schools, health centers, and clean cooking facilities, as well as funding the right enabling environment for such projects to be installed, according to the World Bank representative.

Lemondzhava added, the development body has already invested US$1 billion in mini-grids over the last decade while attracting US$1.1 billion from public and private sector partners.