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Democratic Republic of Congo: World Bank Approves Financing to Improve Electricity Service for Two Million People



WASHINGTON, May 4, 2017— The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today an IDA Grant of $118 million and an IDA Credit of $27 million for an Electricity Access and Services Expansion Project.
The project will provide new or improved electricity service to about two million people, including households and businesses in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas. The beneficiaries can be categorized in three groups. The first involves households and non-household users who will receive access to new electricity service for the first time. The second group involves current electricity for whom the service quality will be improved. The third group of beneficiaries are key power sector stakeholders, participating financial institutions and private concessionaires. These stakeholders will benefit from financing, technical assistance, and capacity-building activities.
“’As new or improved access to electricity is a critical enabler of access to basic services—including health, education, security, and information and communication technologies—the project would contribute to improve the living conditions of the targeted population,”said Alain Ouedraogo, World Bank Task Team Leader of the project.  
The power sector in DRC faces major challenges, including low generation capacity, limited and fragmented networks and low electricity access. About 84 percent of the DRC’s population has no access to electricity. The few households and businesses with electricity connection receive unreliable service.  The new project will support the Government of DRC in unserved and poorly served areas.
Overall, access expansion has received relatively limited financing over the last decade and is an essential for boosting social development and shared prosperity. The project, therefore, would complement the World Bank’s investments in generation, transmission, and utility strengthening. It will help the DRC secure affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy.
The project is consistent with the World Bank’s FY 2013–2016 Country Assistance Strategy which focuses on four strategic objectives(a) increase state effectiveness and improve good governance; (b) diversify the economy to accelerate growth and create employment; (c) improve social services delivery and increase human development indicators; and (d) address fragility and conflicts in the DRC’s eastern provinces. A Systematic Country Diagnostic, to be followed by a new Country Partnership Framework, are under preparation, and the energy sector is expected to be a key element of both documents.
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