(By Sheree Hanna)

The African Development Fund is backing a huge project to build a new power line between two African countries lighting up an additional 870,000 households.

An ambitious electricity scheme to connect Kenya and Ethiopia has won backing from the African Development Fund to tune of $348 million.

The project will involve the construction of 1,068 killometres of high-voltage DC 500 kv transmission line connecting Kenya and Ethiopia and will achieve Kenya’s goal of connecting an additional 870,000 households to the national grid by 2018.

The African Development Fund (ADF) contributes to the promotion of economic and social development in 40 least developed African countries by concessional funding for projects and programmes, as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity-building activities.

It has become more involved in multibillion infrastructure projects in Kenya and most recently helped to finance the Thika Super-highway.

Gabriel Negatu, African Development Bank’s Regional Director for East Africa, said: "The financing of this project further underscores our position as the biggest infrastructure funding partner for Eastern Africa.

“We are committed to partnering with African governments and other development agencies to make the infrastructure dream true."

The Kenyan Government plans to have a total of 1,400,000 additional households wired for electricity by 2022. The new line is hoped to be commissioned by November 2013.

Both the governments of Ethiopia and Kenya are also backing the scheme financially along with the French Development Agency.

The ADF’s main mission is to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries, thus contributing to poverty reduction. It achieves this by allocating resources for investment in member countries and providing policy advice and technical  assistance to support development efforts.

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Source: African Business Review – Oct. 4, 2012. Originally titled “New power line to hook up Kenya and Ethiopia”.

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