The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group announced on Wednesday, June 8 the approval of €16.7 million (a €9-million loan and a €7.7-million grant) in financing toward a program which aims to strengthen the electricity distribution network in Guinea Bissau’s capital by rehabilitating the facilities of 31,000 existing subscribers; connecting 10,500 new subscribers; and improving the commercial management and governance of the public utility, the National Electricity and Water Corporation (company named EAGB).
Only 20 percent of the country’s residents in Bissau have access to electricity. The electricity distribution network in the capital is weak, with almost half all electricity generated lost due to aging infrastructure, illegal connections and irregular billing. In addition, load shedding occurs regularly with more than 20 hours of interruptions per day in some areas. Finally, insufficient revenues and financial difficulties of EAGB makes it difficult for the public utility to properly manage the maintenance of the electrical installations.
Speaking about the announcement, Alex Rugamba, AfDB Director of Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, said, “At present, the city relies upon one rehabilitated generator and rental generators to provide its current 10 megawatt capacity, which is a third of the city’s current need. The AfDB-supported Bissau City Power Supply Improvement Program will enable beneficiaries to further develop their social and income-generation activities; improve the city’s drinking water supply; ensure the smooth functioning of social services; and increase urban security through additional lighting of streets and homes.”
Specifically, the three-year program aims to reduce the number of daily power outages in Bissau related to the poor state of the distribution network from 22 to less than 2; reduce the overall technical and commercial rate of loss in Bissau from 47 to 20 percent; and strengthen the commercial management and governance of the EAGB.
Aligned with the Government of Guinea Bissau’s electricity sector investment and capacity building strategy, the program is also being financed by the European Investment Bank and the Government of Guinea Bissau.