Washington, DC, October 6, 2021—Two IFC-supported solar power projects that are building self-reliance and expanding access to clean energy in the West Bank and Gaza were selected by a United Nations advisory panel as winners of the 2021 UN Global Climate Action Awards under the category of "Financing for Climate-Friendly investments."
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the award program and its efforts to demonstrate how climate action is underway around the world. The award recognizes the most innovative, scalable, and replicable projects that tackle climate change – shining a light on initiatives that help support the goals of the Paris Agreement. The announcement comes ahead of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to be held in Glasgow.
The largest project of its kind in Gaza, the PRICO solar plant will generate and distribute up to 80 percent of the Gaza Industrial Estate's electricity, keeping 32 factories running, thereby providing employment to nearly 800 people. In the West Bank's Massader project, up to 500 schools are being outfitted with solar panel arrays to support uninterrupted clean energy while students are in class.
Innovative financing for PRICO and Massader is part of a larger effort by IFC to create viable markets for renewable energy in the Middle East and North Africa. Blended concessional finance support from the government of Canada for PRICO and the governments of the Netherlands and Finland for Massader was critical in helping the projects proceed.
"Given the immense challenges of designing and implementing renewable energy projects in the West Bank and Gaza, the milestones both projects have met are truly remarkable," says Youssef Habesch, IFC Resident Representative in the West Bank and Gaza. "They are a testament to creativity and perseverance, and show that major infrastructure projects can be realized in challenging environments, deeply impacting the lives of local populations."
Both projects build the capacity of local institutions to lay the foundation for private sector participation in infrastructure development, considered key for long-term, self-reliant growth.
Distributed generation has the potential to move the needle of decarbonizing power systems, while also addressing the access-to-energy problem that is faced by millions of poor and those living in fragile and conflict-affected regions. PRICO and Massader demonstrate how green energy can be transformational for fragile and conflict-affected areas.
The two solar projects are part of a larger IFC effort in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, and improve infrastructure. Since 1995, IFC has committed more than $300 million in the West Bank and Gaza while leading a wide-ranging advisory services program.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.