Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, June 09, 2009 – The World Bank approved today a US$50 million grant to enable Cote d’Ivoire to rehabilitate, improve and expand its electricity distribution network and to prepare future transmission network investments as well as to address the institutional reforms needed to improve the poor financial and technical performance of the Ivorian power sector.
Specific areas targeted by the grant to enhance performance of electricity distribution ,as well as the access of low-income citizens to electricity include the greater Abidjan area, Yamoussoukro and Soubré and Guéyo, two secondary cities in the western region.
About 60,000 new household connections are expected to be made under the project, which will also bring about a better quality of supply for around 227,000 existing customers. A revolving fund will be set up to assist low income households obtain a legal connection to the public electricity supply system.
Following Board approval, Country Director for Côte d'Ivoire, Madani M. Tall, said that "This project is timely. It comes at a time when peace is consolidating with strong signals for economic recovery. Power being a strategic fuel for industry, the support the Bank will provide through this project will help and prevent major risks that could impact negatively on the economy as a whole. Specific access financing scheme and better technical performance of the utility expected from this project will definitely help to improve the quality of life of Ivoirians".
The project, the first in the sector since 1998, represents an initial effort to address the serious lack of investment in the sector during the past decade. It will also provide support to the Government to prepare the transmission projects needed to be implemented in the medium term to ensure that the Ivorian power system will be able to meet the recent acceleration in electricity demand.
In addition, the project will provide support to the Government of Côte d’Ivoire to implement its energy policies, particularly those aimed at restoring the financial viability of the electricity sector.