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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has awarded a US$193mn grant for an electricity networks interconnection project for the Mano River Union countries
The grant covers about 40 per cent of the total cost of the project to secure power supply to Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, AfDB said. The project has been scheduled to begin in 2014 and will be expected to be completed within three years.
Plans for the project include the construction of a 1,400km 225kV line to connect the national networks of the four countries, along with the building of 11 sub-stations and two regional control centres.
The project will form part of the World Bank Power Pool initiative, which has aimed to increase electricity supply and lower energy costs in Côte d'Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea.
The power line will be expected to increase the average rate of access to low-cost electricity for 24 million inhabitants, by five percentage points to 33 per cent, AfDB said.
During the first phase of the new energy project, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea plan to import electricity from Côte d’Ivoire.
AfDB director of energy, environment and climate change department, Alex Rugamba, said, “AfDB is happy to have played a pivotal role in this project. We have been able to mobilise huge resources towards this project from other donors and have been involved in the feasability studies.
“The construction of the power line will improve the hydroelectric potential of the sub-region, with the possibility of facilitating electric power trade between countries in the west African market.”
The new energy project for the Mano River Union members will include a capacity-building component to ensure knowledge transfer to local institutions that can help improve management of future interconnections in west Africa, Rugamba added.