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PRESS RELEASEJune 26, 2024

Accelerating Access to Clean and Reliable Electricity in Burundi

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2024 — A new World Bank-financed project will support the increase of electricity access in Burundi and help to improve the country’s energy sector performance. The project is expected to benefit an estimated 2.4 million people, 1,200 public institutions, and 6,000 small- and medium-sized enterprises and industries with new or improved access to electricity. It is part of the World Bank’s Accelerating Sustainable and Clean Energy Access Transformation (ASCENT) regional initiative, which supports delivery of electricity access to 100 million people in Eastern and Southern Africa by 2030.

Poor-quality power service is undermining opportunities for economic growth in Burundi and the lack of investments has compromised access to expansion efforts. The ASCENT Burundi Project will support the Government of Burundi’s (GoB) Universal Access Program, launched in 2023 and will reinforce the medium voltage network across the country while rehabilitating, modernizing, and expanding Bujumbura’s distribution network.  

To accelerate efforts in expanding electricity access, the GoB will be partnering with the private sector to support grid electrification in peri-urban and rural areas. The project will support a distribution pilot led by Weza Power – a newly created private utility that signed an Interim Public Partnership Agreement with the government. The project will also improve the reliability and quality of the network and reinforce the backbone infrastructure to roll out the next phases of the access program, and also support power sector sustainability through technical assistance to some governmental entities. 

“This project will support key reforms through performance-based conditions related to tariff structure, connection policy, and grid norms to address electrification barriers and ensure long-term sustainability of investments. Through this project, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will work as and will provide an array of solutions which will facilitate significant private capital mobilization to support an innovative approach to improve the lives of millions of people in Burundi,” says Hawa Wagué, World Bank Country Manager for Burundi

With $190 million in funding ($100 million from and IDA* grant and $90 million from other donors including French Development Agency, European Union, European Bank of Investment), the project will target women-led households and micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), helping them benefit from access to reliable and affordable electricity, offering opportunities to increase productivity and create jobs. 

The project will complement the on-going National Solar Energy in Local Communities Project (“SOLEIL-Nyakiriza”) which focuses on scaling up solar decentralized solutions.    


* The World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), established in 1960, helps the world’s low-income countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programs that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives. IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for its 75 client countries, 39 of which are in Africa. Since 1960, IDA has provided $552 billion to 115 countries. Annual commitments have averaged about $36 billion over the last three years (FY21-FY23), with about 75% going to Africa. Learn more online: #IDAworks.



In Bujumbura
Ange Dany Gakunzi
+257 76 304 000
In Washington
Catherine Sear


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