Page content

Our flagship initiatives



of the population of the Sahel don’t have access to electricity.


of the population of the Sahel don’t have access to clean cooking solutions.

With Energy4Sahel, UNDP and partners aim to trigger sustainable socioeconomic growth and poverty reduction through increased access to clean energy in the Sahel.  

Despite being endowed with a tremendous renewable energy potential, the Sahel is one of the world’s regions with the highest energy poverty rates, which shows that the Sahel stands in the middle of a fundamental energy crisis – a crisis that is tightly interlinked with the precarious humanitarian, governance, security, economic and environmental situation in the number of refugees and internally displaced people in the region. Lacking access to modern energy services jobs, health, education and even security, ultimately depend on energy.  

Until today, the benefits of these positive interlinkages between access to clean energy services and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are far from being fully exploited. The reasons lie in various barriers including crisis-related challenges such as the current volatile security situation, and more structural obstacles, such as unfavorable policy and regulatory framework, weak institutions’s capacity, etc.. The current COVID-19 crisis places a further strain on the deployment of clean energy access solutions in the Sahel, limiting the capacity of public and private actors to invest in these capital- intensive technologies.  

Energy is one of the three core components of UNDP’s programmatic offer for the Sahel region, besides Governance and Youth. UNDP intends to complement and augment the various energy initiatives that are already being undertaken by national governments, regional organizations, finance institutions and development agencies in the Sahel. In the overall framework provided the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel (UNISS), by collaborating with these institutions and by leveraging its own network of Country Offices and UN partners, UNDP will provide further impetus for the region’s effort to push forward clean energy access for its populations as a driver for socio-economic development in a fragile post COVID-19 recovery context.  


Our approach

The UNDP Regional Project on Sustainable Energy for the Sahel Energy4Sahel will place particular emphasis on innovations and advanced concepts with potential for high impacts, especially those being developed by creative communities and young entrepreneurs from the region. 

The strategy focuses on (1) off-grid renewable electrification and (2) clean cooking, as enabling activities related to these interventions. Based on the underlying paradigm that renewable energy should primarily contribute to productive use and income generating activities, as well as the provision of basic services such as health and education, UNDP will support governments develop policy and financial derisking instruments to mobilize public and private funding for energy access projects at scale. Tailored innovative technologies and business models for off-grid electrification and clean cooking solutions will be demonstrated and deployed through an integrated approach to low carbon development in vulnerable communities.  

Geographic coverage of Energy4Sahel


Key outcomes  

Expected impact

Overall, the Energy4Sahel project is expected to:  

  • Provide clean energy services to 5.5 million people 

  • Electrify 1,500 public health centers and schools 

  • Create 42,000 green jobs  

  • Partnerships & upstream interventions are expected to accelerate impacts by a leverage factor of ten or more.