(Business in Cameroon) - Cameroon's minister of water and energy (Minee), Gaston Eloundou Essomba, announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The partners want to establish a Research Center for solar technologies and applications in Cameroon.
The agreement was signed on October 31 in New Delhi, India, on the sidelines of the ISA's 6th General Assembly, of which the country is a member. Through this agreement, Minee confirms that Cameroon becomes one of the first countries to benefit from the ISA's STAR-C program (Solar Technology Application Resource Center).
Launched in March 2018, this program aims to develop technical capacities and human skills in ISA member states to encourage significant energy transition activities, create jobs, and contribute to the country's economic growth. In Cameroon, the STAR-C Center is expected to enhance capacities by providing technical training for civil servants, academics, technicians, engineers, and industrial associations.
It will also contribute to the development of national standards based on international experiences. The center will collect and analyze existing knowledge and information on solar energy to disseminate to a wider audience. Similarly, it will also identify and incubate startups or companies looking to integrate solar energy into income-generating activities, with the aim of creating a significant number of green jobs. Gaston Eloundou Essomba hopes to see the effective implementation of the STAR-C project by 2024.
According to official data, the average electrification rate in Cameroon stands at 70%, with 40% in rural areas. As part of its ambition to reach universal access to electricity by 2030, the Cameroonian government has initiated a program to promote photovoltaic solar energy in two components. An off-grid component that has already led to the construction of 350 decentralized solar mini-grids in rural areas, electrifying nearly 10,000 households to date. The centralized component has also facilitated the construction of two photovoltaic solar power plants with a total capacity of 36 megawatts injected into the grid, according to the Ministry of Water and Energy.
"The commissioning of these solar power plants a year ago has already helped avoid emissions of 27,000 tons of CO2," says Gaston Eloundou Essomba. As a reminder, the ISA was launched by France and India during the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015 with the aim of assisting developing countries in more easily accessing this renewable energy.