CHOMBA MUSIKA, Lusaka
THE World Bank has approved US$26.5 million International Development Association (IDA) credit to increase access to
electricity in Zambia’s rural areas.
The regions to benefit from the World Bank’s Electricity Service Access project are Central, Copperbelt, Eastern, Luapula, Muchinga, Northern, North-Western, Southern and Western provinces.
World Bank country manager Ina Ruthenberg said in a statement issued yesterday that the Electricity Service Access project will provide connections to the national grid for about 22,000 low-income households and about 1,000 micro and small entrepreneurs (MSEs) in the selected rural areas.
“The majority of beneficiaries will receive electricity services for the first time. Access to electricity in rural areas is important because it helps replace consumption of kerosene, diesel, dry cell batteries and alternative fuels such as firewood, and contributes to reforestation,” Ms Ruthenberg said.
Zambia’s overall electricity access is 31 percent.
Access in urban areas is 67 percent and four percent in rural areas.
And World Bank senior energy manager Joseph Kapika said the project, which is aligned with two strategies that relate to energy in the recently launched Seventh National Development Plan, supports government’s priority of increasing electricity access in rural areas.
The total cost of the project is estimated at US$36.8 million, of which US$26.5 million will be financed by IDA.
An estimated in-kind contribution valued at US$2.7 million will be provided by the Rural Electrification Authority and Zesco, and about US$0.6 million will be co-financed by households and MSEs for on-grid.
In principle, the Swedish government has agreed to finance the project through the Global Partnership on Output-Based Aid with an amount of US$7 million.