The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the regional organisation West African Power Pool (WAPP) have today signed a grant agreement to the value of EUR 3 million. The grant, which is provided under the recently established EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund, will fund two pre-investment studies for an electricity interconnection project enabling power exchanges between the Ivory Coast, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

The objective of the WAPP is to establish a regional electricity market in West Africa. Through the development and realisation of priority infrastructure projects such as this one, WAPP intend to facilitate access to economic energy resources for all members of the< Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

As well as promoting regional economic growth, one of the priority objectives of EIB activities in Africa, the planned interconnection between Man (Ivory Coast) – Sannequille (Liberia) – Nzérékore (Guinea) – Buchanan (Liberia) – Monrovia (Liberia) – Bumbuna (Sierra Leone) – Linsan (Guinea) will also be key to reconstruction efforts in the post-conflict countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and the forest region of Guinea.

This grant request for the West African Power Pool studies was jointly submitted under the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund by the EIB and Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The grant will finance a Feasibility Study as well as a Line Survey and Environmental and Social Impact Assessment to ensure the sustainable development of the power interconnection project. The studies will be undertaken by international consulting firms under the close supervision of WAPP.

EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund: Working Procedures

Established within the framework of the EU’s response to the 2005 Gleneagles Declaration on Africa, the Trust Fund facilitates support for infrastructure projects with a cross-border or regional impact in sub-Saharan Africa and is managed by the European Investment Bank.

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund aims to blend the grant resources of the European Commission and EU Member States with the lending and technical capacities of the EIB and other EU development financiers nominated by the Trust Fund donors - for example, Agence Française de Développement, KfW, COFIDES and LuxDevelopment. Decisions on grant requests are taken by an Executive Committee of Donors, currently chaired by the European Commission. The Fund became operational in April 2007.

Approved grants from the Trust Fund will support eligible projects in the energy, transport, water and telecommunications sectors through four possible financial mechanisms: interest rate subsidies; technical assistance/feasibility studies; one-off grants for social or environmental components of projects; and grants covering early-stage premiums on risk mitigation insurance. As well as contributing to sustainable growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Trust Fund aims to encourage coordination and co-financing opportunities between European development banks

United Kingdom – 11th Trust Fund Donor

The Government of the United Kingdom is the latest donor to the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund following a EUR 10 million voluntary contribution in December.

The adhesion of the UK to the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund adds impetus to earlier contributions by the European Commission, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and Greece. The EUR 10 million contribution, plus a recently-announced supplementary contribution of EUR 1 million from Luxembourg, will bring the total size of the Fund to EUR 98 million.

The signature of the West African Power Pool project brings the total amount of the Trust Fund grant approvals to EUR 16.2 million. Of the four African projects which have so far obtained grant support, three are in the energy sector and the fourth in the telecoms sector.