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AfDB approves new energy project for Mano River Union countries

The Board of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Wednesday approved an electricity networks interconnection project for La Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The total financing by the African Development Bank Group amounts to 145 million Euros, representing roughly 40 per cent of the total project cost, according to a statement by AfDB.

The project will secure power supply for the four Mano River Union member countries, and will be implemented between 2014 and 2017.

The statement said the project involved the construction of about 1,400-kilometres of high voltage (225 kV) line to connect the national networks of the four countries.

It will see the building of 11 sub-stations and two regional control centres. It is a structuring project, which, in its first phase, will enable Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to import electricity from Côte d’Ivoire.

“The Bank is happy to have played such a pivotal role in the generation of this ground-breaking project. The AfDB leveraged its deep knowledge of the electricity sector in West Africa and rich experience in the definition and implementation of regional projects,” the statement said.

The electricity sector in the Mano River Union countries faces major constraints, namely low access to electricity; a structural deficit in the supply of electricity; a preponderance of thermal generation in the energy mix; and low financial and institutional capacities of national electricity companies.

The statement said the project will increase the average rate of access to electricity in the four countries from 28 per cent to 33 per cent, electrifying 125 locations along the transmission line as well as 70 schools, 30 health centres and nearly 1,500 small commercial and industrial craft enterprises, of which 25 per cent are held by women.

Directly benefiting from the project are the 24 million inhabitants of its impact area who will enjoy reliable electric power at a competitive cost.

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