Washington, DC, July 13, 2009—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, announced today it will provide a $25
million loan to Umeme to help the Ugandan electricity distribution company
improve the quality of its service and connect up to 20,000 new customers
annually in a country where many people still lack electricity.
IFC’s loan will contribute to Umeme’s $50 million investment program
for 2009 and 2010. As part of the program, Umeme will upgrade its existing
equipment and provide new electricity connections. The company currently
supplies power to over 300,000 customers.
“We are delighted with this funding, which will be used to make additional
improvements for our business and domestic customers, supporting the government's
energy policy,” said Charles Chapman, Managing Director of Umeme.
Umeme’s investment program also aims to reduce technical and commercial
losses of electricity. The company has invested considerable resources
in mapping the entire electricity distribution network for the region,
which will enable the company to run the distribution business more efficiently.
“Electricity is the engine of investment and industrial growth and essential
to the long-term health and wealth of the nation,” said Fred A. Kabagambe-Kaliisa,
Permanent Secretary at Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development.
“Uganda’s government is determined to see a drastic increase in electricity
access both in urban and rural areas. The proposed investment by Umeme
through this IFC facility will go a long way in meeting the government’s
goal of increasing electricity access.”
Umeme, which is wholly owned by the United Kingdom’s CDC Group, operates
the bulk of Uganda’s distribution assets under a 20-year concession granted
in 2005. As one of the few private sector power distribution companies
operating in Africa, Umeme’s success will serve as a good example for
other countries in the region and may encourage them to liberalize and
privatize their own power sectors.
“Since beginning operations in 2005, Umeme has connected almost 100,000
new customers to electricity and significantly reduced distribution losses,”
said Jean Philippe Prosper, IFC Director for Eastern and Southern Africa.
“Umeme’s growth and commitment to quality service is helping provide
electricity to more Ugandan’s, improving their quality of life and supporting
the country’s sustainable economic growth.”
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.