11 April 2013 – The World Bank is holding off from financing a US$50 million fund to develop electricity plants to serve Tunisian small-to-medium size businesses. According to the Libya Herald the stalled World Bank programme is seen as extremely important for the markets of Libya and Algeria where power supplies to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and local infrastructure such as hospitals are erratic at best.

In a briefing at her office in Tunis with Capitol Intelligence, the World Bank’s regional representative Eileen Murray said the fund is not a priority for the bank and that it could wait for a number of years.

The delay by the World Bank has now put in question a programme of supplying some 200 MW of new capacity to Tunisian SMEs, of which about 100 MW would be supplied by small five-megawatt power plants serving key sectors such as ceramics, textiles and other SME industries with high energy needs.

Sources close to the situation said the decision by the World Bank to go slow on the co-generation fund may stem from a controversy regarding the use of new and refurbished turbines in the five-megawatt plants.

Algerian electricity supply is 50% less efficient than that of Tunisia while Libyan electrical supply is going through a huge overhaul at the moment and may take years to create a stable and functioning energy industry.