Nigeria secures $210m from AfDB for upgrade to dilapidated transmission infrastructure

AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) has provided $210m in funding to Transmission Company of Nigeria to upgrade the country’s dilapidated power lines and distribution infrastructure, said Bloomberg News citing a statement by the Abidjan-based bank.

The AfDB said the project, which is aimed at improving the reliability of Nigeria transmission grid in seven states – Kano, Kaduna, Delta, Edo, Anambra, Imo, and Abia – is part of a $1.6bn program.

Citing Wale Shonibare, AfDB’s acting vice president for power and energy, Bloomberg News said the project will enable Nigeria to reduce the amount of stranded power and increase evacuation capacity from the south of the country toward the north where power supply is limited. The financing will assist in boosting power exports to the West African pool “… especially through Niger and Benin interconnections,” Shonibare is quoted to have said.

Africa’s most populous nation is only able to send about a quarter of its total power capacity to homes and businesses due to its outdated infrastructure, much of which was installed in the 1980s. The country’s transmission lines can “theoretically” carry about 7,500 megawatts, according to the country’s electricity regulatory authority, said Bloomberg News.

The AfDB has invested $13bn in the Southern African region since 2012, with the bulk of it going to Eskom.

The bank’s president, Akinwumi Adesina, told the recent Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit that the bank has invested $5bn (R76bn) in Eskom as the utility is critical for power supply for South Africa and the SADC region.

It also supported Mauritius with $114m for its St. Louis Power Plant that now provides 36% of the population with electricity.

With a potential of over 44,000 MW, Adesina said unlocking the potential of the Inga hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo must become a top priority. With that kind of generation Inga can power “… the whole of the region, and beyond”. That’s why the AfDB is strongly supporting the realisation of the INGA 3, he said.

Apart from power generation, the AfDB also invested in construction and other transformative projects linking key economies in the SADC region.

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