Geothermal, Hydropower, Infrastructure

World Bank approves US$375 million IDA credit to support Ethiopia 2025 goal

The World Bank Group has approved a US$375 million International Development (IDA) Association credit to support Ethiopia’s goal of achieving universal electricity access by 2025.

The World Bank says Ethiopia has the second-highest available generation capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa with nearly 100% coming from renewable energy generation – mostly hydropower – and vast and mainly untapped solar, wind and geothermal clean energy resources.

The Ethiopia Electrification Program approved earlier this month will directly support the country’s National Electrification Program (NEP), launched with World Bank support in November. The program’s three pillars include: grid electrification, off-grid services, and sector capacity and institutional reform.

The IDA credit will help the NEP requirement of an estimated $1.5 billion investment over the first five years. The money will also help the NEP fund one million last-mile household connections, according to the World Bank.

“Through this program, we hope to facilitate the provision of electricity services to all Ethiopians nationwide by 2025. This means that children will be able to study at night, health facilities will be able to provide life-saving services and businesses will be able to operate optimally,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank country director for Ethiopia.

Part of Ethiopia’s future hydro development is invested in the 6,000-MW Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

In November, HydroWorld.com reported talks at the 17th Annual Tripartite National Technical Committee negotiations, recently held in Egypt, ended without an agreement on rules for filling the reservoir at GERD and using flow to generate power. An additional meeting was planned for February, but was postponed.

A report in the Egypt Independent on March 13 said Sudan is hosting a meeting between foreign and water ministers and heads of intelligence services form Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan on April 4 and 5 with regard to discussing GERD.

Over the past decade, Ethiopia has launched one of the most successful electrification programs in Sub-Saharan Africa, expanding the grid network coverage to nearly 60% of towns and villages, according to the World Bank.

Despite these major strides in the sector, the organization said the country still has the second-largest energy access deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria, and the third in the world. Household connections have not kept pace with network expansion: 70% of the population still lives in the dark, and only 24% of primary schools and 30% of health centers have access to electricity services.