Togo’s electricity grid is about to get a major upgrade. The government of the West African nation announced a plan to enhance Togo’s electricity generation capabilities through a scheme that pushes reliance on solar power in Togo rather than other forms of energy through a plan called Project CIZO.

Project CIZO (link in French), revolves around pushing Togo’s capacity to generate electricity forward, hoping to cover up to 50 percent of the country’s needs in 2030 by introducing solar energy in Togo.

Through CIZO, the Togolese government plans to reach three million more households, which currently do not have any access to the country’s electricity grid. By 2030, the government hopes to extend electricity to the entire population of 7.5 million.

According to USAID, Togo only has a 27 percent access rate, with one million households across Togo living without electricity. In the countryside, only 21 percent of households have access to electricity. The government hopes to bring the number up to 40 percent by 2022.

In order to improve their reach, Togo’s government is looking to build 300 ‘mini’ solar plants across the country and give 500,000 households solar kits, which the government also reduced the price of by 30 percent. Over the next five years, Power Africa partner BBOXX has agreed to distribute 300,000 systems across the country to introduce solar power in Togo, according to USAID.

Project CIZO is expected to cost the Togolese government approximately CFA 1,000 billion (approximately 1.76 billion USD). Of the total projected cost, the government hopes to raise CFA 180 billion ($318 million) and receive the remainder of the funding from private investors.

While the country ranks relatively low for its Human Development Index, Togo is considered one of the more developed nations across the region. And while its phosphate reserves have helped it accrue revenue, Togo can only generate close to a third of the amount it consumes, forcing it to import electricity from Ghana and Nigeria. 

Togo’s project CIZO is part of a wider trend across African nations to move towards  renewable power schemes. Last year, Morocco ‘greened’ 100 mosques, replacing its electrical grid with energy generated from solar energy. Egypt has also been working to introduce renewable energy, unveiling plans to expand Aswan’s Benban Solar Park to include 32 solar power plants.