World Bank has signed grant IDA agreement with Ministry of Finance and Economic
Affairs in the tune of $66 million to provide access to grid connected
electricity supply most especially rural Gambia under ECOWAS Regional
Electricity Access Project (ECOWAS-REAP)
The grant will enable the country to fully implement the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) projects in the country which aims to increase grid electricity access within the West African Region.
The electrification project also aims at improving the cost of electricity supply to the countries by expanding an interconnected power system.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, the World Bank country director to the Gambia, Mrs. Louise Cord expressed her delight in signing the project, noting the importance of access to electricity especially for rural Gambia.
“The biggest beneficiaries will be those in the rural areas and outside Banjul who will now be able to, once the infrastructure is built under this project, will get access to energy and electricity and we know that that is an engine of growth,” she said. “It helps women, it helps small enterprises, it helps schools, it helps schools and teachers, it helps students to study.
“This is creating opportunity for growth outside of Banjul which for me and the World Bank is absolutely central to our mission to helping reduce world poverty and promoting geo prosperity.”
She said the WB took opportunity of the OMVG project which is also another regional project in ensuring rural communities in the sub-region have access to electricity.
The Finance and Economic Affairs minister Mamburay Njie applauded the WB’s gesture, saying the money is significant judging the country’s GDP and that it will play a crucial role in the socio-economic lives of Gambians. The Finance minister said President Barrow is appreciative of the gesture as providing electricity to rural Gambians is part of his NDP agenda.
“For the fact the household, the beneficiaries, the common Gambian that is up there will change their lives, poverty alleviation and the project is expected to increase to electricity, that alone, not only will it change the life of rural Gambia, but it can also reduce migration rural to urban,” Njie said.
According to the World Bank, the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Access Project will help provide electricity access to 2.5 million people across five countries in West Africa, namely; Guinea Bissau, Niger, Mali, Togo and The Gambia.