Bissau, Guinea-Bissau — (METERING.COM) — January 30, 2008 – Guinea-Bissau’s electricity and water facility is set for a multi-million upgrade under a new agreement between the country’s government and the Nigeria-led Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
The project will involve the rehabilitation and management of the transmission and distribution sectors and is understood to include a range of actions to improve metering and billing of customers and the reduction of both technical and non technical losses, which are estimated at between 20 to 30 percent.
Similarly the aged water distribution system will be rehabilitated, and will include initiatives to reduce losses not only through leaks but also the commercial losses with improved metering and billing.
In 2005 the parastatal Electricidade e Aguas de Guinea-Bissau (EAGB) had about 15,300 electricity customers, of which 11,750 were metered and 3,500 non metered, and about 6,300 water customers, of which fewer than 300 were metered.
These figures may not reflect the true situation of those drawing services, however, as during the civil war in 1998 a bomb hit the EAGB’s headquarters, destroying customer records that have never been properly recovered.
At the signing of the agreement with the AFC, Guinea-Bissau’s foreign affairs minister Maria da Conceição Cabral said the partnership would strengthen the country’s efforts to attract investment and contribute to growth. “Ultimately, it is the kind of catalyst we need for real poverty reduction to take place, and is definitely a win-win initiative.”
The AFC was established in May 2007 as an African and private sector-led investment bank and development finance institution with the mission of driving economic growth and industrial development in African countries, in particular by promoting the development of infrastructure.
The initiative will involve the AFC’s development subsidiary, Africa Infrastructure, and its Chinese equity and technical partners, the Western Metal Product Company (Wempco), and will also include the rapid deployment of emergency power using heavy fuel power generation.