Lenders support transmission to interconnect Africa hydro

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank have approved separate funding agreements for transmission interconnections to enable the exchange of hydroelectric power among several African nations.

West African Power Pool

EIB and the Cotonou-based West African Power Pool (WAPP) signed a grant agreement December 19 providing for funding under the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund of two pre-investment studies for an electricity interconnection project among Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

The 3 million euro (US$4.4 million) grant is to finance a feasibility study as well as a line survey and environmental and social assessment to ensure sustainable development of the interconnection project. The studies are to be undertaken by international consulting firms under WAPP supervision.

The objective of WAPP is to establish a regional electricity market in West Africa. (HNN 12/13/07) Through such interconnection projects it intends to facilitate access to economic energy resources by all members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Nile Basin Initiative

The World Bank board approved an International Development Association credit December 20 to help Ethiopia finance its portion of a new transmission line connecting Ethiopia's power grid with that of neighboring Sudan.

The US$41.05 million credit is to help fund power trading between the two countries and will improve reliability and security of supply, the World Bank said.

"The project will also enable Sudan to replace domestic thermal generation with surplus hydropower from Ethiopia, reducing Sudan's greenhouse gas emissions," the bank said.

World Bank team leader Philippe Benoit said the project is the first power connection within the framework of the Nile Basin Initative (NBI) and an important step in cross-border trade and regional interconnection.

Representing the nations of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, the NBI's Shared Vision Program previously received a World Bank grant to carry out the regional power trade project. NBI recently recruited training consultants for the hydropower-based project. (HNN 11/30/07)

Addressing the European Union-Africa conference, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni recently listed the Ethiopia's developed hydropower capacity of 500 MW and its total hydropower potential of 40,000 MW, and Sudan's developed capacity of 1,850 MW and potential capacity of 2,000 MW. (HNN 12/11/07)

Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Resources has completed studies of two hydroelectric projects proposed for northwest Ethiopia, 2,000-Mandaya and 1,200-MW Border, seen as key to future power trade with Sudan. (HNN 9/5/07)

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