Lebanon has secured a substantial multimillion-dollar donation from China to implement a solar energy initiative aimed at bolstering the country's beleaguered internet services.
Ogero, the state-owned telecommunications service provider, is set to benefit from this donation, receiving over $8 million. This funding will be used to equip more than 830 Ogero sites with solar energy panels. This initiative comes in response to years of persistent electricity shortages that have severely impacted Lebanon's internet and phone services.
In an official statement, the Ministry of Telecommunications acknowledged the challenges faced by the telecommunications sector due to the country's ongoing financial and economic crisis. These challenges include the devaluation of the national currency and frequent power outages.
The statement reads, "After persistent efforts, the Ministry of Telecommunications and the Ogero Authority have secured a generous Chinese donation exceeding $8 million to provide clean solar energy to over 380 sites operated by the Authority."
The solar energy project is scheduled to be operational by the summer of 2024. Additionally, a fundraising campaign will be launched in the coming days to collect donations, with the aim of securing necessary credits from the central bank, as stated in the announcement.
Despite this positive development, challenges remain, as the solar energy project's effectiveness is tied to the struggling national grid managed by Électricité du Liban (EDL). EDL has been unable to provide more than three to four hours of electricity daily, resulting in significant outages for landline, mobile and internet users since the onset of the crisis in 2019. Last year, Ogero had to resort to backup generators due to EDL's unreliable power supply, according to Ogero's director.