The World Bank through International Development Association has approved $243m to Ethiopia and $441m to Kenya to finance the Eastern Electricity Highway Project to be built between the two nations.

The Eastern Electricity Highway project estimated to cost $1.3bn will connect the electrical grids of Ethiopia and Kenya to create and share electricity between the two countries.

World Bank Africa Region vice president Makhtar Diop said the landmark transformational project will change the fundamentals of the power sector in East Africa.

The Ethiopian and Kenyan governments, the African Development Bank, and the French Agence Française de Développement will also finance the cross-border transmission line project.

The electricity generated from the project is anticipated to power around 212m people living in five countries.

"It will expand access and lower the cost of electricity supply to homes and businesses across Kenya and help to reduce thermal power emissions in Kenya, a clear benefit to the region’s environment," Diop added.

"Currently, only one in three Africans has access to electricity in their communities so boosting power sharing between countries is an essential step toward addressing Africa’s needs."

World Bank Africa Region Sustainable Development director Jamal Saghir said the Eastern Electricity Highway Project will make a significant contribution to help meet the development needs of the people of Ethiopia, Kenya and the sub-region.

"Once built, this power line will be a symbol of Africa’s determination to solve its energy crisis through cooperation in energy trade," Saghir added.

The two countries will sell the surplus electricity produced to each other and reduce the exploitation of thermal power in Kenya.