BANGUI, June 3, 2022 - To improve living conditions in the Central African Republic, the World Bank today approved a $138 million grant (financed by an $83 million grant from IDA,* a $30 million grant from the Green Climate Fund, and $25 million in private financing) for the Electricity Sector Strengthening and Access Project (PARSE) and $70 million in financing for the Health Service Delivery and System Strengthening Project (SENI-Plus), comprising a $58 million grant from IDA and a $12 million grant from the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) to restore and protect essential health services amid multiple crises, including COVID-19.
CAR has abundant low-cost energy resources, including significant solar potential (5 kWh/m2/day), but these resources remain underdeveloped. In addition, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the country’s economy, and years of conflict, coupled with the lack of services essential to human development, have led to poor human capital outcomes.
“The PARSE Project will build on the achievements of the PURACEL and PASEEL projects by increasing the supply of and access to clean electricity services. It will promote the provision of off-grid solar systems for schools, hospitals, administrative centers, and agricultural purposes,” said Han Fraeters, World Bank Country Manager for the Central African Republic. “Support for the SENI-Plus Project will provide quality health care to more than 40% of the Central African population, including more than 100,000 pregnant women and 426,125 children under the age of five who will enjoy free health care,” he added.
The electricity sector is characterized by inadequate infrastructure, a weak policy and regulatory framework, and a utility that is struggling to recover costs and thus maintain and expand its services. Only 14.3% of the country’s population has access to electricity, with rates ranging from approximately 35% in Bangui to about 0.4% in rural areas. Health care delivery is constrained by a shortage of health workers, infrastructure, and medical equipment, and by difficulties in physically accessing services; the lack of a functioning national supply chain to efficiently deliver medicines and medical supplies; and limited coverage of community-based interventions to promote health and prevent and treat diseases among the most remote and vulnerable communities.
Financed by a grant from the International Development Association (IDA)*:
The Electricity Sector Strengthening and Access Project (PARSE) aims to provide solar generation and transmission and distribution network upgrades for renewable energy integration and increased access. This component supports the supply and installation of five mini-grids with a total capacity of 10 MW to serve 20,000 households in the cities of Nola, Bouar, Bossembélé, and Bangassou. In addition, the transmission network will be strengthened through construction and rehabilitation works and the expansion of the capacity of the Danzi solar plant from 25 MW to 40 MW to connect 20,000 households in the city of Bangui and the surrounding areas. The project will provide off-grid solar systems for households, 300 educational facilities, 300 health centers, and about 100 public buildings, and retrofit 100 community water points with solar power. The project will also focus on improving the performance and capacity of ENERCA and providing the space needed to respond quickly to disasters or health crises and protect people’s livelihoods.
The SENI-Plus Project seeks to increase the use of quality essential health services, especially for women and children, by supporting more than 400 health centers and 15 district hospitals with an estimated target of over 2.36 million people in the prefectures of Nana-Mambéré, Mambéré-Kadeï, Sangha-Mbaéré, Ouham-Péndé, Kémo, Nana-Gribizi, Ouaka, Bamingui-Bangoran, and Bass Kotto.
*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 for 2.8 billion people, the majority of whom live on less than $2 a day. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 112 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $18 billion over the last three years, with about 50 percent going to Africa.