African power projects get €305m European funding

The European Investment Bank has approved loans worth a total of €305m ($460m) to African power projects.

The largest loan is for €180m and has gone to Morocco for the third phase of an upgrade of the country’s electricity infrastructure, which will include the installation of around 1300 km of overhead power lines.

The bank has also given €50m towards the construction of a hydropower plant in Zambia. The 120 MW project is being developed by Itezhi-Tezhi Power Corp and will be built at the existing Itezhi-Tezhi Dam. The bank’s money will also be used to install a 291km transmission line to Lusaka that will connect the power station to the national grid and the Southern African Power Pool.

Pim van Ballekom, the bank’s vice-president for lending in sub-Saharan Africa, said: “Increased production of green energy will lower the cost of importing electricity to Zambia and reduce reliance on coal-generated power. The European Investment Bank recognises the detrimental economic impact of power shortages in the region and is committed to supporting long-term investment in key energy infrastructure across Africa.”

The bank has green-lighted a further €75m to go towards linking the power systems of countries in West Africa that have been affected by years of civil conflict. A regional power line will connect Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Van Ballekom said that “ensuring access to electricity is essential for economic activity and growth. The European Investment Bank recognises specific acute challenges in post-conflict West Africa and is confident that this crucial energy infrastructure initiative will transform opportunities in the region.”

The scheme, which will cost a total of €370m, will include a new 1350 km high-voltage transmission link between the four states and connect them to the West African Power Pool.

Once completed, the transmission line will enable power exports from Ivory Coast to the three other countries and the line will later support development of the large hydropower potential in Guinea.

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