WASHINGTON, October 31, 2018— The Board of the World Bank Group today approved a total amount of $465.5 million IDA* credit ($275.6) and grant ($189.9) to help the governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria pursue their efforts to expand the supply of reliable and cost-effective electricity by promoting efficient regional energy trade among West African countries. The new North Core Regional Power Interconnector project will connect the four participating countries through a regional high voltage transmission line. It will strengthen their institutional capacities to participate effectively in the regional electricity market.
“Promoting regional interconnections not only allows for an increase in the total of electricity supplied at a cheaper average cost, but it also increases the system reliability and grid stability, which in turn allows for more renewable energy capacity to be added to the system”, says Charles Joseph Cormier, Practice Manager for the Energy Global Practice at the World Bank.
The four countries involved have already a track record of energy trade either with each other, or with other countries in the region, but the total volume traded is small considering the potential for regional exchange. Moreover, their demands for electricity are expected to increase significantly over the next decades, more than doubling its size between 2015 to 2030, from a total of about 12,200 MW in 2015 to a total of 37,490 MW in 2030. By connecting them with a HV330 kV transmission line, the North Core Regional Power Interconnector project will help further facilitate efficient energy trade in the sub-region, foster efficient commercial exchange agreements among them, and expand access to electricity for the populations along the transmission lines.
The direct beneficiaries of the new project are the national power utilities, including the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Société nigérienne d’électricité (NIGELEC), Communauté électrique du Bénin (CEB), and Société nationale d’électricité du Burkina Faso (SONABEL). The project will help improve their financial performance and their interconnection to the regional market will increase the stability of their national systems. The project will also facilitate the optimization of national power generation by allowing larger amounts of renewables, notably solar. Households will have more reliable access to energy as a result of an increase in affordable electricity supply. And finally, the lower costs of electricity and increased reliability will expand opportunities for economic activities and improve the competitiveness of companies, help create jobs and spur growth in the participating countries.
* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 75 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.5 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 54 percent going to Africa.
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For more information about the World Bank’s work in Benin, visit: www.worldbank.org/benin
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For more information about the World Bank’s work in Nigeria, visit: www.worldbank.org/nigeria
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