World Bank Approves $43 Million Grant for Gambia’s Electricity Restoration
The World Bank Board of Executive Directors approved Monday a $43 million grant from the International Development Association (IDA) for The Gambia’s Electricity Restoration and Modernisation Project (GERMP). The grant is also expected to improve access to water.
The additional financing was made available through reallocation of IDA18 balance, thus augmenting the Bank’s initial funding envelope for The Gambia by 20 percent, the Bank said in a statement.
“The people of The Gambia face many challenges in terms of access to electricity and water. Nearly 50% have still no access to electricity, and in urban areas, about 69 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water.”
It stresses that the quality of services is weak due to frequent service outages, with some neighborhoods not receiving water for days, weeks or even months at a time.
It acknowledges that the National Water and Electricity Company (NAWEC) has made significant improvements in its operational and financial performance in recent years, but yet to achieve financial viability as customers still face erratic supply of water and electricity, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This support will build on the ongoing efforts of the government to strengthen the electricity and water sectors, and further boost the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic through communications and targeted investments including hand washing facilities in the Greater Banjul Area,” said Elene Imnadze, World Bank Resident Representative.
The additional financing will further strengthen NAWEC’s transmission and distribution network, provide additional support to transform NAWEC into an efficient and credit-worthy utility, and expand the scope of the project to the water sector. Specifically, more than 1.6 million people will have gained or improved access to electricity; 17 km of transmission lines will be constructed or rehabilitated; 20 grid-connected photovoltaic systems with storage will be installed; 20,000 water meters will be installed or replaced; and three water storage tanks will be repaired.
“This additional grant comes at an important moment in the reform process underway. We have already seen significant improvements in NAWEC’s performance. Additional resources will help to solidify these gains,” said Chris Trimble, Task Team Leader and Senior Energy Specialist, World Bank.