The government of Senegal has recently introduced a Value Added Tax (VAT) exemption for off-grid solar products, in a move that it is hoped to accelerate access to solar power in rural areas and realise the country’s ambition to achieve universal electricity access by 2025.
The new measures for solar, wind and biogas technologies were announced over the summer following an inter-ministerial decree. Twenty-two materials used in the production of renewable energy will be exempt from VAT, including photovoltaic solar panels, solar thermal collectors or panels, solar inverters, solar batteries, solar water heater kits, charge controllers, solar lamp kits, solar street lighting comprising solar panels, controller batteries and lanterns. Solar pumping kits, comprising a solar panel, controller and pump, are also on the exemption list.
With the cost of acquiring off-grid solar equipment due to fall by an estimated 18%, energy businesses will be better able to reach populations most in need of electricity access. The subsequent economic empowerment will boost the resilience of remote communities.
Welcoming the announcement, Energy 4 Impact’s Programme Manager Abdoul Dosso explains how his team contributed to influence this outcome.
Such a multi-year and multi-partner effort by Energy 4 Impact aims to empower rural female entrepreneurs in particular through the provision of off-grid energy and productive use equipment.
Women entrepreneurs constitute 60% to 80% of the agricultural work force, but their productivity is typically lower than men as their access to resources and production inputs is more limited. Yet when made available and affordable, renewable energy, alongside productive equipment for refrigeration, pumping, water purification, post-harvest and food preservation, can provide a breakthrough for female-run businesses.
The energy sector in Senegal is in a period of progressive transformation. During a Council of Ministers in early September, President Macky Sall took steps to ensure civil society organisations and opposition leaders are represented on Cos-Petrogaz, the government committee for oil and gas strategy. The President also called for the reform of legislation around how wealth from oil and gas resources is distributed.
Energy 4 Impact’s Abdoul Dosso hails such recent political developments as encouraging news for the renewables industry.
Led by Women Deliver, a global coalition of partners advocating for gender equality, working in tandem with Senegalese NGO Siggil Jigeen, Deliver For Good campaigns for the health and rights of girls and women across twelve critical areas, including economic empowerment and access to resources.