AfDB funds South Sudan’s capital city power distribution system

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The government of South Sudan has managed to commission a $38 million upgraded power distribution system financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB)to restore reliable electricity supply to Juba’s central business district and boost suburban livelihoods.

South Sudan has been recorded as the nation that had worst electricity access in the world, as the Africa Oil and Power report shows that, the power supply stands at just 1 per cent of the population.

The funding that was commissioned on 21st November comes to the rescue of the country that had a devastating conflict, crippling most of its economic systems.

According to the African Development Bank, the Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project is the first in a series of major energy sector interventions by the Bank to improve livelihoods and build resilience in South Sudan. As its counterpart contribution, the government provided land for the construction of five customer service centers.

The project aims to scale up electricity access and use in South Sudan’s rapidly growing urban communities, which will revitalize economical activities substantially.

The underdeveloped African nation of more than 10 million people, will be taking a giant step towards breathing life in its capital city urban structures accommodating more than 500,000 people, according to 2017 population estimates.

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As cited by AfDB, during the inauguration of the upgraded facility, President Salva Kiir thanked the African Development Bank for its valuable support for his nation.

“This project will spur development in the country where more than 70% of lighting relies on generators and others on kerosene,” President Kiir commented

He added: “The government is focused on exploiting and developing our hydro and renewable energy resources. With funding from the African Development Bank, we aim to generate 10-40 MW of renewable energy.

The power project is vital to the nation’s oil production potential of 5.3 million barrels of recoverable oil (producing 180,000 barrels of oil per day) as a reliable power supply is essential in molding back its shuttered economy, which depends 40 per cent of its Gross Domestic Products (GDP) from oil exports.

Further, according to the President, the country also plans to invest in a 1,080 MW grand Fula hydropower project to generate and distribute power across various states.

The African Development Bank has funded 13 projects with cumulative approvals at about $178.6 million, Since taking off operations in South Sudan in 2012.

Per the AfDB report, the projects include two major humanitarian and resilience building interventions, which have successfully closed. Currently, the Bank’s active portfolio for the country stands at around $137 million

However, AfDB Country Manager Benedict Sorie Kanu expressed his views on the prospects of the project and its impact on Africa’s economically-young state.

“We foresee a range of socio-economic benefits arising directly and indirectly from this prominent and long-desired project, including reduced cost of doing business and improved service delivery in regard to education and health facilities,” He added

Upon completion, the upgraded power distribution system will consist of a 145 km, 33kV medium voltage distribution line and a 250 km low voltage distribution line with 145 new transformers installed. At least 20,000 domestic and commercial consumers will be connected.

“Our vision for South Sudan is credible and durable long-term peace, accompanied by sustained economic diversification away from petroleum into more productive and inclusive sectors, with the vast majority of South Sudanese benefiting more from the national pie,” Kanu commented

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Padili Mikomangwa is an environmentalist based in Tanzania. . He is passionate about helping communities be aware of critical issues cutting across, environmental economics and natural resources management. He holds a bachelors degree in Geography and Environmental Studies from University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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