Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 8
The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), the poverty alleviation arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, has been relentless in supporting a greener future in its member countries with an aim to introduce the renewable energy project program to improve the living conditions of rural off-grid communities through the use of solar energy for business and domestic purposes as well as by providing electricity services in rural public facilities.
More than half the people in Bangladesh live in areas where there is no mains electricity. Only one-third of rural communities have access to electricity. However, for nearly 10 years now the lights have been going on in many parts of the countryside thanks to Solar Home Systems (SHS). Previously, people had to rely on kerosene lamps that provide poor light and create a smoky home environment. But now young people can study after school, the family can relax and learn by watching television, people feel safer in and around their homes, and shopkeepers and traders can extend their business hours.
Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) of the IsDB group participated in a project to support a phase of the SHS program initiated by the Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) in Bangladesh cooperated with international and local partners to install solar home systems in remote rural areas, which are not easily accessed by the national electricity grid in Bangladesh. The total project cost was US$64 million, of which ISFD provided a soft loan of US$18 million covering 28% of the total project cost. This phase of the program covers the cost of microfinance for more than 143,000 SHS.
The ISFD main aim is to support Bangladesh's efforts to raise levels of social development and improve rural household livelihoods by increasing access to electricity and supporting initiatives in rural areas for the productive use of electricity. The SHS program implemented brought positive changes to the economy of the rural people, as they are now using SHS for their income-generating activities.
Likewise, the ISFD's intends to contribute more and improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of rural people in remote areas with less access to electricity. The opening of IsDB regional Hub in Dhaka gives an opportunity to ISFD to reinforce its projects supporting renewable energy as well as stemming firm belief in the bright future that awaits renewable energy resources playing a vital role in providing electricity to poorest region in Bangladesh.
“As the solar power energy projects lift millions of people into prosperity, our hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold, global initiative. With the opening of IsDB regional hub, we look forward to staying closer to the people and studying their needs much better while implementing several projects for the benefit of the rural community and implementing sustainable development programs to enhance the economic status of Bangladesh,” said Dr. Waleed Al Wohaibi, Director General of ISFD.