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Study aims to increase African hydroelectric development investment

TUNIS-BELVEDERE, Tunisia 5/31/12 (PennWell) -- Hydroelectric development in the Baro-Akobo-Sobat region of the Nile Basin could receive a boost if a development study attracts the sorts of investments its creators intend.

Led by the Eastern Nile Technical Regional Office (ENTRO), which is the technical arm of the Nile Basin Initiative, the development study will support investments to finance not only hydropower, but also water supply and sanitation, irrigation, flood control, drought management, navigation, fisheries, watershed management and tourism projects in the Baro-Akobo-Sobat (BAS) area.

The project is also being supported jointly by the New Partnership for Africa's Development-Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) and the African Development Bank (ADB), which approved a US$3 million loan for the study earlier this month.

"The facility considers this to be a project of the highest importance, where the potential of the available untapped water resources is very promising," NEPAD-IPPF coordinator Akica Bahri says.

ADB says the study will be implemented over the span of three years and include:
-- Development of an integrated water resources management and development plan for the BAS sub-basin
-- Identification of investment packages and feasibility studies of select priority investments
-- Identification of multi-purpose, long-term development projects
-- Consultation with stakeholders, including financial agencies as well as the private sector

The bank estimates the population of the affected region to be close to 4 million.

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