Tanzania’s power initiative receives major boost from the World Bank

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The World Bank has shown its support of Tanzania’s President John Magufuli’s bid to light up the country by approving US $455m credit. The amount will go towards the provision of electricity access to households located in grid-absent rural regions especially the southern regions.

According to the press statement issued by the World Bank in Dar es Salaam earlier on this week, the funds will be channeled towards the construction of critical high voltage transmission infrastructure. This is with a view to supporting the electrification of the southern and northwestern regions of the country.

The project is also set to establish cross-border transmission capacity through connecting Tanzania with the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP).

Bella Bird, the World Bank Country Director for Tanzania, Malawi, Burundi and Somalia, said that the project not only serves to improve on the region’s potential, but also contribute to the creation of job opportunities with an end goal of driving overall economic growth.

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The high voltage transmission line is set to start in Iringa, through Mbeya to end up in Sumbawanga. Moreover, this, according to Ms. Bird, comes with additional benefits of improved reliability of power supply to the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania ( SAGCOT), by virtue of it being along the route.

She further added that the new International Development Association (IDA) credit is solely Tanzania’s allocation as part of the ‘Tanzania-Zambia Transmission Interconnector Project’ (or “TAZA”), which is a series of two WB’s projects. In the first project, the scope of TAZA entails the construction of 620km 400 KV double circuit transmission lines from Iringa through Mbeya to Sumbawanga.

According to her, the transmission line would also extend from Mbeya through Tunduma to the border with Zambia to be ready to connect to Zambia’s grid. This will be achieved only after ZESCO, the country’s power utility firm finalizes its section of the transmission interconnector within Zambia