The World Bank said Monday it had approved US$330 millio n for Kenya to expand electricity access and deepen investment in green energy.
Bank’s Board of Executive Directors said the funds would be used to increase ele ctricity access for Kenyans in urban, semi-urban and rural areas.
It will also enable Kenya to expand geothermal power generation as part of its g reen energy development strategy, in addition to financing projects under the Kenya Electricity Expansion Project, the Bank said in a statement obtained b y PANA here Monday.
World Bank Country Director for Kenya Johannes Zutt said Kenya had demonstrated a strong commitment to clean and green energy by exploiting its geothermal potential.
”The Bank is supporting these efforts to promote equitable access by Kenyans to modern energy while protecting the environment,” it said.
The project is part of over US$1.4 billion being invested in the electricity sec tor by the government, the Bank and other development partners in support of the government’s strategy to accelerate infrastructure de velopment to strengthen foundations for growth and competitiveness.
It will build on the Energy Sector Recovery Project, which the Bank has supporte d since 2004 with an investment of US$160 million to increase geothermal generation.
The project also aims to improve electricity distribution and implement electrif ication programmes to support economic growth and reduce regional disparities. It also continues the Bank’s support for geothermal energy development that started in the 1980s.
Kenya’s Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Patric Nyoike said the project suppo rted the climate change and infrastructure development pillars of the government’s Vision 2030 long term development strategy.
”It will strengthen the energy investment programmes which have been enabled by the comprehensive policy and regulatory reforms that Kenya has implemented with the Bankâ?s support since 1981,” he said.
The gap between electricity supply and demand has increased in recent years due to Kenya’s strong economic growth and inadequate investment in power infrastructure.
The supply deficit and costly short-term interventions constrain economic growth and reduce the regional competitiveness of Kenya’ss private sector, the World Bank said.
Lack of reliable energy lowers the annual sale revenues of Kenyan firms by about seven percent and reduces Kenya’s growth rate by about 1.5 percent, according to the 2008 Africa Infrastructure Country