WASHINGTON, May 11, 2017--The World Bank today approved an International Development Association (IDA)* credit of $26.3 million for the Hydropower Development on the Sanaga River Technical Assistance Project.
With the development of hydro sites on the Sanaga River, current and future electricity consumers will benefit from cheaper hydroelectricity compared to fossil fuel alternatives, decreased likelihood of shortages, and improved likelihood that electrification programs proceed as the country moves from crisis-management to planned generation growth.
“There is a growing demand for electricity in Cameroon. In terms of electricity distribution and access, approximately 48 percent of the Cameroonian population have access to electricity. With Cameroon having the third largest hydropower development potential in sub-Saharan Africa, and half of it being in the Sanaga River basin, it is important to focus on the hydro development of this river and assist the country in its development of the sector for the benefit of the population,” said Elisabeth Huybens, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon.
Through the Hydropower Development on the Sanaga River Technical Assistance Project, the Bank is helping support institutional capacity building and knowledge transfer to the government in refining its tools and strategy to develop its hydropower resources in an integrated and sustainable manner. It will also strengthen the investment done in the sector and support the ongoing Energy policy dialogue.
“Hydropower will play an increasing role in meeting Cameroon’s growing demand for electricity, with the Sanaga River Basin being the primary water source in the country. This will be achieved through a combination of technical assistance, advisory services, expert support, studies, and analyses, which will be informed by best international practice,” said Stephan Garnier, Lead Energy Specialist and co-Task Team Leader for the project. “The project will also support the identification and preparation of one hydroelectric site on the Sanaga River to be developed through the private sector and awarded on a competitive basis. The creation and sharing of technical and regulatory knowledge with support of the project (for example, on hydrology risks, dam safety, reservoir management, cascade investment optimization, and competitively-bid concessions) will bring the Government and the private sector on an equal footing to identify and distribute risks in the development of the Basin’s potential.”
The beneficiaries of this technical assistance, the Ministère de l’Eau et de l’Energie (Ministry of Water and Energy, MINEE) and Electricity Development Corporation (EDC) will gain enhanced capacity to attract private sector financing and commercial capital for hydropower development in Cameroon.
* 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 77 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to the 1.3 billion people who live in IDA countries. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $19 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.