The Republic of Congo was on the receiving end of a US$60 million assistance package this week to increase access to electricity and improve the efficiency and reliability of the distribution system.

The World Bank approved a US$15 million International Development Association credit and a US$45 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development to help the country’s national electricity utility (SNE) improve its managerial, technical and commercial performances.

The money will also be used to increase access to basic infrastructure services such as drinking water and electricity for the urban poor living in Brazzaville and Pointe Noire.

Sylvie Dossou, the World Bank country manager for the Republic of Congo, said: “The electricity demand in these cities is expected to double in the next few years and the major transmission lines essential to supply power is not up to the standard to meet these needs.

“This project will support investments to retrofit or upgrade the infrastructure to improve operation and management of the power system.”

Mahine Diop, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the project, added: “Through investments targeted to improve the efficiency of electricity supply, the additional financing will help improve the financial viability of the sector, which in turn will reduce the power sector’s fiscal burden on the economy and create opportunities for social investments.”