IFC signed a joint development agreement with Nigerian solar project firm Middle Band Solar One. Financial close on the project is expected in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The project’s consortium includes Alten Renewable Energy Developments Africa, Green Continent Partners and Nigerian company Nemoante.

Green Continent Partners founding partner Arjen Pen said: "The key strategy of Middle Band Solar One is to harness the abundant all-year-round supply of sunlight and become one of Nigeria’s leading providers of renewable energy."

To be built in Lokoja, Kogi State, the solar project will generate clean electricity enough to supply around 175,000 people and nearby industrial clusters.

Said to be IFC’s first solar project in Nigeria, the project will support renewable energy growth in the country, thereby reducing reliance on gas-fired power generation.

IFC Nigeria country manager Eme Essien Lore said: "This project supports our commitment to the Federal Government of Nigeria under our Energy Business Plan, a comprehensive World Bank Group approach to support each segment of the energy value chain in the country."

IFC recently approved $55m in loan for seven small hydropower plants in Kenya. The clean electricity generated at the projects will be used to power tea factories affiliated with the Kenya Tea Development Agency.