The World Bank Group (WBG)'s approval of a 140-million-USD interest-free loan to Myanmar represents a critical declaration of the group's commitment to support the development of Myanmar, Kanthan Shankar, Manager of the Myanmar Country Program for the WBG told the press here Wednesday.
Shankar said the WBG loan, which was announced Tuesday by the group, is to be used for building a new 106-megawatt gas-fired power plant at Thaton in Mon state to increase reliable electricity for the people of Myanmar.
The Myanmar electric power project is the first international investment since the bank group's re-engagement in Myanmar.
"The project, in partnership with the Ministry of Electricity, responds to the government's desire to address constraints in electricity supply, which poses a major obstacle to unleashing Myanmar's economic potential and reducing poverty, " Shankar said.
He stressed that Myanmar has tremendous potential to reduce poverty. A more reliable electricity supply will create jobs and improve lives.
According to Shankar, Myanmar's per capita energy consumption level is one of the lowest in the world with fewer than 30 percent of its people having access to electricity, and the ratio drops to only 16 percent in rural areas where the majority of Myanmar's poorest people live.
Increasing the capacity and reliability of Myanmar's energy supply is an important contribution to the country's economic growth and improvement in the livelihood of the people, he said.
Noting that the project is a cornerstone of the WBG's engagement in the energy sector in Myanmar, he disclosed that the joint WBG program includes future support for rural eletricification, private sector investment in generation and distribution, hydropower and gas subsectors.
The Washington-based World Bank Group (WBG) on Tuesday announced that its Board of Executive Directors has approved 140 million U.S. dollars of interest-free credit to fund the installation of a modern and high-efficiency power plant in Myanmar's Mon State.
The funding comes from the International Development Association (IDA), the WBG's fund for the poorest developing countries.
The project will replace aging gas turbines with new units, which will produce 250 percent more electricity with the same amount of gas and reduce emission.
WBG's support for the Electric Power Project follows a 80 million dollars' grant for a national community driven development project, designed to help 3.5 million people in rural communities with improvements in infrastructure over six years, as well as analytical work to improve public financial management.
The World Bank Group is also working with Myanmar on the preparation of possible future support in priority areas such as telecommunications, water and education.
In January this year, Myanmar settled a debt of 430 million U.S. dollars owed to the World Bank since 1973.