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Ethiopia gets $375m World Bank credit to revamp energy sector

The World Bank has reportedly approved $375 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to support Ethiopia’s goal of achieving universal electricity access by 2025.The approved credit will directly support the National Electrification Program (NEP), which requires an estimated investment of $1.5 billion over the first five years, and provides one million last-mile household connections, the bank said on Wednesday in a statement.

Ethiopia has the second highest available generation capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa with nearly 100 percent coming from renewable energy generation (mostly hydropower), and vast and mainly untapped solar, wind, and geothermal clean energy resources.

Over the past decade, the Government of Ethiopia has launched one of the most successful electrification programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, expanding the grid network coverage to nearly 60 percent of towns and villages, the release noted.

World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia Carolyn Turk was quoted as saying that “through this program, we hope to facilitate the provision of electricity services to all Ethiopians nationwide by 2025. This means that children will be able to study at night, health facilities will be able to provide life-saving services and businesses will be able to operate optimally.”

The program supports the three pillars of the program: Grid electrification, off-grid services, and sector capacity and institutional reform and is intended to optimize electrification efforts to maximize the development impact of electricity services, irrespective of where someone happens to live.

Senior Director for Energy and Extractives at the World Bank, Riccardo Puliti said “while the immediate focus will be on financing new connections, the program will also help Ethiopia strengthen its energy institutions and the overall sector, so that the benefits of expanded electricity services can continue for years to come.”

Despite these major strides in the sector, the country still has the second largest energy access deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa (after Nigeria), and the third in the world, it added.

With support from the World Bank, Ethiopia had launched National Electrification Program (NEP) to strategically shift from infrastructure development to the delivery of adequate, reliable and affordable electricity services in 2017.

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