The World Bank said it supported Somalia’s electricity, with $150 million, to increase access to cleaner, lower cost electricity.
The bank aims to increase stable electricity supply among a population of about 15 million, of whom 9 million lack access to electricity.
According to the World Bank, Somalia’s energy cost is among the highest in the world.
The World Bank said in a statement that the combined effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, devastating floods, drought and desert locust infestation are undermining opportunities for economic recovery and efforts to reduce poverty in Somalia.
“Access to affordable electricity is critical for reducing poverty, as it helps increase household income, improve the business climate, and create jobs,” said Kristina Svensson, World Bank Country Manager for Somalia.
“This project complements and leverages programs by the World Bank Group and those of international partners in Somalia by scaling up investments to improve service delivery.”
The project also aims to strengthen health and education services by providing electricity to 205 health facilities and 380 schools.
About 90% of Somalia’s electricity is supplied by small insulated diesel-based grids operated by private power service providers.
Somalia also has great potential to use renewable energy to generate electricity, particularly solar and wind energy in several assessments conducted by the World Bank.
“The project’s design builds on the World Bank’s experience of supporting local institutions in fragility, conflict & violence (FCV) affected countries, with the goal of enhancing local knowledge and capacity to improve service delivery and build back better using green and resilient solutions,” said Erik Fernstrom, World Bank Practice Manager for infrastructure in Southern and Eastern Africa.
The World Bank also sees the potential for the Somali government, as an active member of the Horn of Africa Initiative, to take advantage of the opportunities offered by regional integration to bypass the creation of basic transportation infrastructure and obtain diversified, low-cost electricity.