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Burma’s electricity grid receives World Bank boost

Dark street in Rangoon. (Reuters)

The World Bank has approved a US $400 million interest-free credit to support the Burmese government’s expansion of the national electricity grid. The loan will help finance the government’s goal of countrywide access to electricity by 2030.

Currently, over 70 percent of the population live with no access to electricity, leading Naypyidaw to highlight the importance of upgrading the grid as a priority to help alleviate poverty and sustain the fast-developing economy.

According to the World Bank’s 16 September statement, the funding will go directly to the government’s National Electrification Plan or NEP, and will also include technical assistance as the grid expands. Off-grid power solutions are also expected to be explored for rural areas.

The loan will come from the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, the International Development Association.

In the announcement, World Bank Southeast Asia Country Director Ulrich Zachau said, “This $400-million project will help connect towns to the grid and turn on lights in schools, clinics and remote villages. We welcome and support Burma’s goal to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.”

The six-year project, according the World Bank, will provide, “grid connections for 23,000 schools, clinics and community centers, and 132,000 street lights will be turned on, opening village markets after dark and improving safety.”

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