September 23, 2017

$400m from World Bank for 2030 electrification plan

Increasing access to electricity will play a vital role in alleviating poverty in Myanmar, where 70 percent of the population do not have access to electricity. —PHOTO: Aye Min Soe
Increasing access to electricity will play a vital role in alleviating poverty in Myanmar, where 70 percent of the population do not have access to electricity. —PHOTO: Aye Min Soe

The World Bank announced on Wednesday that it will contribute US$400 million in interest-free credit to Myanmar to help the country achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.
The announcement came following the government’s invitation of foreign direct investment into its power-generation sector at the Myanmar Global Investment Forum in Nay Pyi Taw on Tuesday.
In a press release issued Thursday, the World Bank said its Board of Executive Directors approved a US$400 million interest-free credit from the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, to provide financing and technical assistance for Myanmar’s National Electrification Plan (NEP).
In Myanmar, where over 70 percent of the population lacks access to electricity, bringing light to rural towns and villages is a critical part of alleviating poverty and developing the economy.
“As part of the World Bank’s Country Partnership Framework, we are increasing our support for Myanmar’s National Electrification Plan because we want to help Myanmar bring the benefits of electricity to its people quickly,” said World Bank Southeast Asia Country Director Ulrich Zachau.
The project will expand the existing electricity grid by adding medium- and low-voltage distribution networks, giving more towns and homes access to grid-based electricity. It will also include off-grid electrification systems, such as solar systems and mini-grids to bring electricity to rural communities located far from the national grid.
More jobs, better healthcare too
The project is expected to benefit over 6.2 million people by bringing electricity to more than 1.2 million households in Myanmar by the end of 2021, according to the World Bank.
“This $400 million project will help connect towns to the grid and turn on lights in schools, clinics and remote villages.  We welcome and support Myanmar’s goal to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030,” the World Bank’s country director said.
“The National Electrification Plan will transform Myanmar by giving the people of our towns and villages access to more job opportunities, better healthcare and lighting for classrooms,” said U Aung Than Oo, Myanmar’s Deputy Minister of Ministry of Electric Power.
“The Government of Myanmar is now accelerating its work to expand the grid and to bring power to rural areas with the critical support of the World Bank.”
Over the course of the six-year project, the World Bank financing will provide grid connections for 23,000 schools, clinics and community centres. It will also fund the installation of 132,000 street lights, opening village markets after dark and improving safety in local communities.
Power plant projects aplenty
Seventeen power plant projects that are currently being implemented are due to be completed by 2016, and 10 others were completed between 2013 and 2014, according to the Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC).
There are also plans to construct another 87 power plants that will be able to supply 54,608 MW of installed capacity around the country, said MIC chairman and Union Minister of Energy U Zay Yar Aung at the opening of the Myanmar Global Investment Forum on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, multilateral financial institutions such as the World Bank, ADB and IFC have planned projects or loans for power generation in Myanmar to support the government’s efforts to attract FDI to the power sector.
Currently, foreign investors from Singapore, Thailand, China, the US, Japan, the UK, Norway and other European and Asian countries have investments in Myanmar’s energy sector, including the oil and gas, coal and hydropower industries.—GNLM

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