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World Bank gives Lom Pangar project $132 million

WASHINGTON, D.C. 4/2/12 (PennWell) -- The World Bank's Board of Executive Directors has approved a US$132 million loan for Cameroon's 56-MW Lom Pangar hydropower project.

The zero-interest financing is being made to "support the country's economic development" and "significantly improve the supply of electricity to homes and businesses across Cameroon," the World Bank says.

The bank says the immediate benefit will be a 120-MW increase in hydroelectric generation at two existing hydropower plants, whose improved reliability will affect up to 5 million Cameroonians.

The Lom Pangar project has also received financial assistance from the African Development Bank (AfDB), Central African States Development Bank (BDEAC), European Investment Bank (EIB), International Development Association (IDA) French Agency for Development (AFD) and Government of Cameroon.

The facilities, on the Sanga River, are expected to help store water during the rainy season and will increase Cameroon's hydroelectric generating capacity by about 40%.

"Africa's energy deficit suppresses its growth and deepens poverty, and this is certainly the case in Cameroon where many communities are starved for energy," says Obiageli Ezekwesili, World Bank president for the Africa Region. "Lom Pangar marks an important step in turning the lights on in more homes and businesses in Cameroon, lowering power costs, attracting new investors and improving the all-season reliability of the country's electricity."

Ezekwesili also notes that Cameroon has the third-largest untapped hydropower potential in sub-Saharan Africa, with as much as 12,000 MW of hydroelectricity still to be had.

Cameroon announced its intention to improve Lom Pangar in 2009.

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