South Africa and Rwanda are set to receive US $500m from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help fund the upgrade and expansion their power grids, in line with the Bank’s ‘High 5s’ programme which aims at tackling the power problem by improving access to electricity to Africa bringing with it industrialisation and economic development.
Amadou Hott, AfDB vice president for power, energy, climate change and green growth, confirmed the reports and said the approved programme will support the government to add over 193,000 new on-grid and over 124,000 off-grid connections.
In its commitment to South Africa, the bank has loaned US $217.9m to the state electricity provider Eskom, including US $25m from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a joint project with the People’s Bank of China.
The funds will be directed towards the construction of 555 km of 400 kV transmission lines in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, as well as the upgrading of substation equipment in Mpumalanga as part of the Eskom Transmission Improvement Project (ETIP).
In Rwanda, the bank has approved a loan of US $266m towards an expansion project for the electricity supply system, which is part of a drive to transform the country into an export-oriented economy. The US $266m is a joint amount of US $192m AfDB loan from the bank and US $74m credit from the African Development Fund, over three years, and will go into the scaling up electricity access program (SEAP II).
Additionally, the programme will see the construction of 7,317 km of low voltage power lines and 795 km of medium voltage, aimed at improving the power network across the country and providing power to communities with no access to power.