The African Development Bank (AfDB) is funding a CFEFr23bn (US$25mn) project to link the electrical network between the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The project is expected to enhance economic co-operation between the two countries by linking the power networks in their border regions, which suffer from an infrastructure deficit, from the hydro-electric plant of Boali (CAR). When completed, the upgrade will see 29,000 additional people connected to electricity.

The first stage of the project will be executed within 48 months, and aims to renovate and upgrade production units, lines, transformers and distribution networks, mainly in CAR and in the Congolese towns of Zongo and Libenge.

Moreover, the upgrade of the Baoli plant will increase the production of renewable energy and reduce reliance on thermal plants to fill the production deficit. Alex Rugamba, director of the AfDB’s regional trade and integration department, says: “This measure is adapted to climate change, optimises hydro-electric infrastructure and enhances the potential of the M’Bali river from the reservoir created 20 years ago.”

CAR planning and economy state minister Abdou Karim Mékassoua adds: “In the long term, the high cost of energy will be reduced, which will help improve the living conditions of the beneficiaries, cut poverty and boost growth through the development of the energy sector.”