The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's long-term financing institution, is lending ECU 35 million (1) to the Banque Algérienne de Développement (BAD), acting for the Algerian State, for investment to improve electricity supply in southern Algeria.

The project will be carried out by SONELGAZ, a public industrial and commercial utility company under the supervision of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Works being financed will extend electricity supply to Ghardaia and Ouargla, about 500 km south of Algiers which have a total population of some 400 000, including their hinterland. This will bring the towns into line with the rest of the network that already covers mainly the north of the country.

Scheduled for completion by end-2001, the project will substantially increase the capacity of the high-voltage transmission grid to meet present and future demand.

Created under the Treaty of Rome in 1958, the European Investment Bank (EIB) finances investment projects fostering the European Union's objectives. It also participates in implementing the EU's cooperation policy with non-member countries which have signed cooperation or association agreements with the Union. The EIB represents an important source of financing for the economic development in the Mediterranean, where it has lent more than ECU 3 billion since 1991 in twelve countries around the region's eastern and southern rims.In Algeria the aggregate amount of finance contracts signed todate under the Fourth Financial Protocol Algeria-EU amounts to ECU 280 million, from a total of ECU 280 million foreseen for the period 1992-1996.

(1) The conversion rates used by the EIB for statistical purposes during the current quarter are those obtaining on 31/03/1997 , when 1 ECU  = 0.71 GBP, 6.58 FRF , 1.16 USD, 66.9810 DZD.