WASHINGTON, June 23, 2023 - The World Bank has approved $157 million in financing from the International Development Association (IDA)* to help Mali improve the reliability and efficiency of the electricity system, increase access to electricity in selected project areas and facilitate the integration of renewable energy.
The Electricity System Reinforcement and Access Expansion Project (Yelen Sira, which means “the path of light” in Bambara) will finance key grid infrastructure and new connections through the upgrading and expansion of the transmission and distribution grids in certain areas, including Bamako and its surroundings. The investments will increase the power flow capacity of the transmission grid in Bamako by at least 100 MW, thereby enabling EDM-SA to achieve economies of scale through optimized management of its generation systems and grid, while reducing its reliance on small, polluting and expensive rental power plants. Losses on Bamako’s main transmission grid are expected to decline from a projected level of 8.5 percent in 2024 (before the proposed grid reinforcements) to 4.5% by 2028, once these reinforcements have been completed. The installation of green mini-grids and the electrification of selected localities in rural areas are also planned. The expansion of distribution grids and connections in secondary cities will provide electricity to about 400,000 persons (approximately 60,000 households) and for more than 1,000 public facilities such as health centers, schools, administrative buildings and street lighting).
“Yelen Sira’s investments will have an immediate impact on the quality and cost of electricity services in Mali,” says Clara de Sousa, World Bank Country Director for Mali. “By leveraging technological developments in off-grid electrification and business models, the project is creating economic opportunities and improving access to social services such as health, education, cold storage, and solar water pumping in remote areas,” she adds.
The project has received $43 million in co-financing from the Green Climate Fund ($38 million in credits and $5 million in grants), which was mobilized under the World Bank’s Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI). The Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) is also providing $1 million in grant funding, bringing the total project financing to $201 million.
The World Bank Group plays a key role in the development and implementation of Mali’s energy access agenda. It works closely with the donors and technical partners in Mali to ensure that the respective commitments complement and reinforce each other. This coordinated approach will be used to implement the Electricity System Reinforcement and Access Expansion Project.
*The International Development Association (IDA) is the World Bank’s fund for the poorest. Established in 1960, it provides 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 76 poorest countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Resources from IDA bring positive change to 1.6 billion people. Since 1960, IDA has supported development work in 113 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $21 billion over the last three years, with about 61% going to Africa.