The Minister of Finance, Trade and Blue Economy of the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe, Américo Ramos, has officially announced the Power Sector Recovery Project, which aims to reform the energy sector in the country. The project includes the rehabilitation and expansion of the Contador Hydroelectric project and strengthening of the national utility Empresa de Água e Electricidade de São Tomé e Príncipe (EMAE).
The Minister indicated that “this occasion marks the partnership of the World Bank and the European Investment Bank with the Government of São Tomé and Príncipe, to assist in the recovery of the energy sector, to increase the generation of electricity with renewable resources, and to improve the reliability of the electricity supply, with a shared vision of sustainable energy supply for all, respectful of the environment.”
The World Bank is contributing USD $16 million grant from IDA, and the European Investment Bank USD $13 million in concessional financing, for a total financing package of USD $29 million, covering a 5-year extensive program on the sector. This project will support the rehabilitation of the Contador Hydroelectric plant, along with the respective transmission network and distribution facilities, as the first step towards using more hydroelectric energy and improving the quality of life of about 90,000 beneficiaries. The project will also implement reforms in the energy sector, particularly within the Empresa de Agua e Electricidade, EMAE, and its regulator, AGER.
The World Bank is providing support to the Government in preparing a least-cost power development plan as a long-term master plan for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Natural Resources, which will define a roadmap for investment in additional generation capacity in order to meet the challenges of a growing demand in a vibrant economy. The project will also benefit from the results of an innovative domestic energy survey to understand the consumers’ energy use and their concerns to best address the interests of the beneficiaries.
The representative from the European Investment Bank, as co-financier, head of Southern African division, Diederick Zambon, expressed, “EIB has a continued interest in supporting São Tomé and Príncipe, and the efforts to improve the transmission and distribution network to facilitate the access to energy and reduce losses in the system.”
The project will be implemented by the Agência Fiduciária de Administração de Projectos from the Ministry of Finance, Commerce and Blue Economy, with a team that will ensure these resources are being utilized transparently for the benefit of all in the country.