The World Bank has announced a $150 million electricity recovery project to help light up Somalia.
According to a statement released last week BY the Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), the project will increase access to cleaner, lower cost electricity for 1.1 million households, or approximately 7 million people, of which 3.5 million are women.
“The project also aims to reestablish a stable electricity supply and support regional integration,” the statement indicated.
The project resulted from findings that out of a population of about 15 million, 9 million Somalis lack access to electricity services, and the cost of power in the country is among the highest in the world.
In addition, almost nine out of ten Somali households are deprived in at least one dimension of poverty—monetary, energy, education, or water and sanitation, according to a World Bank (2019) Somalia Poverty and Vulnerability Assessment.
“The combined impacts of the Covid‐19 pandemic, devastating flooding, droughts, and a desert locust infestation further undermine economic recovery and efforts to reduce poverty,” the statement indicated.
World Bank officials expressed confidence on the project’s potential to reduce poverty in Somalia.
Kristina Svensson, World Bank Country Manager for Somalia, said, “Access to affordable electricity is critical for reducing poverty, as it helps increase household income, improve the business climate, and create jobs,”
“This project complements and leverages programmes by the World Bank Group and those of international partners in Somalia by scaling up investments to improve service delivery.”
The document underlines that access to electricity is also a pre‐requisite for the provision of adequate health and education services, and for responding effectively to the Covid-19 pandemic and future shocks.
The electrification project is set to enhance health and education services by providing electricity access to 205 health facilities and 380 schools.
Erik Fernstrom, World Bank Practice Manager for infrastructure in Southern and Eastern Africa, stated, “The project’s design builds on the World Bank’s experience of supporting local institutions in fragility, conflict & violence (FCV) affected countries.”
She emphasised that the project will enhance local knowledge and capacity to improve service delivery and build back better using green and resilient solutions.
“Somalia also has significant potential for using renewable energy for electricity generation, particularly solar and wind energy,” the statement further specified.
Established in 1960, IDA is designed to help the world’s poorest countries by providing grants and low to zero-interest loans for projects and programmes that boost economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve poor people’s lives.