July 13, 2012
The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank approved the Eastern Electricity Highway project designed to link Kenya onto Ethiopia’s electrical grid with the aim of allowing power sharing between the two countries.
The World Bank will give 243 million US dollars to Ethiopia and 441 million US dollars to Kenya from the International Development Association, a fund intended for the poorest countries in the world.
The project is part of the first phase of a program that is planned to implement power integration in the East African region which will ultimately cost an estimated 1.3 billion US dollars and benefit 212 million people living in five regional countries.
The World Bank will help finance the project alongside the governments of Ethiopia, Kenya, the French Agence Française de Développement and the African Development Bank. The funding will be used for the construction of a cross border power line to facilitate Ethiopia’s export of surplus power generated from existing and planned power plants. The power interconnection can also be worked the other way with Kenya doing the supplying if required.
The project will change the basic nature of the power sector in Eastern Africa by expanding access to electricity while lowering costs in homes and business as well as having environmental advantages said Makhtar Diop, Vice President of the World Bank got the African Region.
The Eastern Electricity Highway Project will enhance the development objectives of Ethiopia, Kenya and the Sub-region according to Jamal Saghir, Director of Sustainable Development with World Bank.