AfDB Approves USD 47.70 Million for Electricity Supply to 423 localities in Cameroon

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Tunis, 15 September 2010 - The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, approved UA* 31.64 million (equivalent to USD 47.70 million) for the strengthening and extension of electricity networks to 423 localities in Cameroon.

The total project cost is estimated at UA 58.99 million (USD 80.07 million).

The implementation of this project will enhance the existing network’s technical performance and will extend electricity supply to 423 new localities which are not connected to the grid.

The extension of the high voltage line as well as the rehabilitation and extension of the medium voltage and low voltage network will make it possible to increase the supply capacity in order to ensure better countrywide coverage by the national grid, especially the country’s southern regions where economic activity is expected to recover, driven by the development of agro-industrial and tourism sector projects.

Like in most African countries, Cameroon’s energy sector is facing both structural and technical difficulties which have drawn the attention of the government and that of the country’s development partners. Under Cameroon development vision which extends to 2035, the government has prepared a poverty reduction strategy aimed at transforming Cameroon into an emerging country.

Without adequate energy infrastructure, it will be difficult to achieve such an objective since the availability of energy is an essential condition for improved growth and economic competitiveness.

The country’s current 22% electrification rate remains low and is a constraint on the production of goods and services. In rural areas, the rate is only 3.5%. The government’s objective is to ramp up the country’s electrification rate to over 48% and the rural electrification rate to over 20% by 2020. All the operations planned for the country’s energy sector, including this project, are intended to support the government in achieving these objectives.

The project is in keeping with the Bank Group’s assistance strategy for Cameroon that aims at contributing to efforts at achieving growth objectives and poverty reduction.

This intervention strategy is underpinned by two pillars: strengthening governance with a view to improving strategic management in central government; and developing infrastructure to reinforce basic infrastructure, including that of the energy sector, which is necessary to ensure private sector development and improve the country’s economic and social development framework.

* 1 UA (United of Account) = USD 1.50891 as at 15/09/2010