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US$176m from World Bank to boost West Africa Power Pool

World Bank to boost electricity supplyWorld Bank to boost electricity supply
June 1, 2012

The World Bank has approved US$144.5 million in zero interest financing and a US$31.5 million grant for two projects under the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) program to boost electricity supply and lower energy cost in four countries, a press release from the bank said on Friday.

The four countries to benefit are the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, all members of the Mano River Union (MRU) sub-regional grouping.

The World Bank’s support comes just days after the current Chairman of the African Union, Benin’s President Boni Yayi spoke optimistically about the development of electricity on the continent and prospects for Africa’s development.

Speaking during his official visit to Paris, where he held talks with the new French President Francois Hollande, the AU Chairman said

Africa wanted to take care of its own destiny and this is possible.

“We have a US$40 billion yearly program, and we have already got the project funding program, backed by the internal resources.

We want to handle our own destiny and it is possible to do it. I believe that the infrastructural development program will need more than US$60 billion between now and 2040,” President Yayi said.

 

 

World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region Jamal Saghir said “Limited access to electricity services and the high cost of energy are major obstacles to economic growth and stability.

“The projects will integrate electricity systems, increase electricity supply, and improve system reliability,” Saghir added.

Together with the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Investment Bank (EIB), Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW), and the CLSG Governments the first project will finance the infrastructure of the transmission interconnection between Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of a length of approximately 1,349 km.

The project targets countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, which are coming out of conflict and are among the poorest world-wide. Moreover, the power systems in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea are in considerable need for rehabilitation and expansion.

According to Yusupha Crookes, the World Bank Country Director for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ghana, “The potential economic development impact of the project is significant. Currently, electricity prices in both Liberia and Sierra Leone are among the highest world-wide.”

Crooks said the potential economic development impact of the project is “significant” because “currently, electricity prices in both Liberia and Sierra Leone are among the highest world-wide.”


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