The World Bank has approved a $200m project to increase the supply of electricity to about 2.5 million Iraqis and enterprises in the three governorates of Basra, Al-Muthanna, Thi Qar, and Missan.

World Bank

Image: World Bank to bolster Iraq’s electricity supply. Photo: Courtesy of Michael Gaida/Pixabay

As per the World Bank, the three regions presently suffer from frequent and long power cuts and rely on private or shared generators to cover the power shortages.

The project known as the Electricity Services Reconstruction and Enhancement Project, has been approved the financial institution, to support the Government of Iraq’s efforts to improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply by reducing capacity limitations in the distribution and transmission network.

World Bank Mashreq Regional Director Saroj Kumar Jha said: “The lack of access to reliable power has a significant impact on household well-being, business growth, and the capacity of the enterprise sector to create sustainable jobs for the growing numbers of youth entering the job market.

“Improved electricity supply will support job creation, including enhancing women’s ability to engage in income generating activities. It will also promote economic diversification and allow enterprises to increase their productivity, thus fostering inclusive economic growth and shared prosperity for the population of Iraq South region.”

The aim of the project is to increase efficiency of electricity operations and management, which is important for reducing the fiscal burden levied by the sector on the country’s budget.

The project will include reconstruction and rehabilitation of the electricity transmission and distribution grid with installation of new lines and power substations. Additionally, Integrated Management Information Systems and customer call centers will be established. The initiatives are not only expected to increase network capacity to deliver electricity to consumers, but also will result in improvements in network operations efficiency and customer care

World Bank senior energy specialist and project team leader Paul Baringanire said: “Improved efficiency, transparency, and accountability of operations will not only improve the sector’s performance but also enhance the image and credibility of the sector institutions namely the Ministry of Electricity, the South Electricity Transmission Company, and the South Electricity Distribution Company with shareholders and electricity customers thus contributing to restoring citizen confidence and gaining support for sustained operations.”