The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan of $325 million to strengthen Cameroon’s national electricity transmission network. The Electricity Transmission and Reform project is the second IBRD operation for Cameroon this year since 1992.
The project will help support Cameroon’s approach in improving the quality of power supply and unlocking private sector investment. It will also assist the newly-created National Electricity Transport Company, SONATREL, for its full operationalization and with capacity building activities during the first years of its operations.
“With only 74 percent of the Cameroonian population living in localities with direct access to electricity, the need and pressure for electricity is very high. With power supply and reliability being identified as important impediments to economic growth, this project will help establish a predictable environment for future growth and competitiveness in Cameroon,” says Elisabeth Huybens, World Bank Country Director for Cameroon.
Through the Electricity Transmission and Reform project, the Bank is also helping address some constraints in the sector, and more specifically in the area of electricity access, by enabling the transfer of power from new hydropower plants and energy-surplus from regions to towns and villages in under-served regions and improve quality of supply in urban areas.
The project will benefit the current and future electricity consumers, including the poor, who are disproportionately excluded due to the lack of reliable and efficient transmission capacity to service demand. In addition to that, additional transmission capacity created under the proposed project will help increase productivity and spur economic growth and will therefore benefit not only the electricity consumers, but the country’s population as a whole.
“The sustainability of infrastructure investments critically depends on the timely implementation of the accompanying reforms and the operationalization of SONATREL. It will therefore be key to continue to assist the National Electricity Transport Company, SONATREL in its operationalization and the implementation of the Third-Party model for non-discriminatory access to the transmission network,” says Stephan Garnier, Lead Energy Specialist and co-Task Team Leader for the project.
The first component of the project will help SONATREL operates efficiently, while the second component will improve the capacity and reliability of Cameroon’s national electricity transmission network by financing priority investments to upgrade and extend the national transmission networks and strengthen the reliability of power supply in the interconnected systems. The third component will finance technical assistance, analytical work, and capacity building in support to key sector stakeholders and also ensure the provision of needed technical, financial, operational, and fiduciary assistance to SONATREL’s Project Implementation Unit (PIU) for the implementation of the project.