Comorans pin their hopes on AfDB Energy Sector Support (PASEC) electricity project

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Visiting the Comoros, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka reaffirms the Bank’s support for the Comoran Government's reforms. The Bank is also providing significant support for the energy sector.

At the age of 65, Koikowa Sania runs a shop in Istandra, not far from the Comoran capital of Moroni. It only takes a mention of the electricity supply problems the country is experiencing for her to show the depth of her exasperation. She cannot take any more of the constant power cuts: "Look at the walls; I've installed everything, but the irregularity of the electricity supply is incredible. I sell a little of everything: milk, sugar, soap, and so on, but a good part of my business, hence my income, is based on the sale of fruit juice, water, and a whole range of other cold drinks. With the stifling heat and humidity outside here, I'd have more customers. If I had electricity all the time, I could triple my profits.”

For Koikowa and many others, individuals and businesses alike, the news of an African Development Bank (AfDB) intervention that will strengthen the electricity sector in the country gives them hope. Energy is a sector that occupies a prime place in the programme of AfDB President Donald Kaberuka during his visit to the Comoran capital of Moroni on February 2, 2015.

Well aware of the country's social and economic realities, Kaberuka reiterated during the day’s meetings that he understood the concerns of leaders, of women and young people working in the informal sector, and of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and all business owners. Indeed, he emphasised that growth would not be possible in the Comoros until the infrastructure, particularly energy infrastructure, was in place. "AfDB will do all it can, with its other technical and financial partners, to ensure the Bank’s project other, similar projects provide a reliable supply of electricity on a regular basis to the majority of the population," Kaberuka told to Comoran leaders and private sector operators.

Kaberuka’s visit raised the hopes of Rachid Jaffar, 23, who works in a gas station on the other side of the road, opposite Sania's shop. “When there is no electricity, we have to pump the gas manually to serve our customers. It's 1 pm now, and we haven't had power since 9 o'clock this morning. This very often causes a queue of cars outside the filling station. "I've heard about the AfDB project, that the AfDB was coming to help us improve the living conditions of the people," he said.

To date, the Project to Support the Energy Sector in the Comoros (PASEC) is in its implementation phase. This project, which has benefited from a grant of approximately US $20.7 million, has two objectives:

  • To restore and improve the electricity network, from production through to distribution;
  • To help reduce the technical and commercial losses caused by the currently defective network, and to encourage the country to develop renewable energies.

PASEC has two components:

  • To restore the network to ensure sufficient production capacity linked to a comprehensive distribution network;
  • To diversify the energy mix in the long term by restoring, recommissioning and changing existing hydro-electric equipment; and to identify the potential for geothermal and hydro resources in the country.

During his official visit with the President of the Union of the Comoros, Ikililou Dhoinine, on Monday, February 2, Donald Kaberuka reiterated the Bank's availability and commitment to support the Comoros in their reforms – particularly in the energy sector, the development of the private sector and the protection of the environment.

Since 1977, the Bank has financed 22 operations in support of the Union of the Comoros, amounting to a total of approximately US $119 million. The energy sector, which has benefited from US $20.7 million – representing 39% of the Bank’s overall support to the country – takes the lead for aid granted to the Comoros by the AfDB.