On 16 Sep. 2015, The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today a $400 million interest-free credit to provide financing and technical assistance for Myanmar’s National Electrification Plan (NEP), which calls for universal electricity access by 2030.
In Myanmar, over 70 percent of the people have no access to electricity, so providing towns and villages with lights is urgent for helping people out of poverty and growing the economy.
With the $400 million in funding for Myanmar approved by the World Bank, the government of Myanmar will expand the country’s national electricity grid and build off-grid power solutions in rural areas.
The project is intended to bring electricity to over 1.2 million households in Myanmar through 2021, which will benefit over 6.2 million people with convenience in working, studying and living.
The government will also add medium- and low-voltage distribution networks to expand the existing electricity grid, which will make grid-based electricity accessible to more towns and homes.
Moreover, the off-grid electrification systems, such as solar systems and mini-grids, will be established and expanded so as to bring electricity to rural communities far from the national grid.
“This $400 million project will help connect towns to the grid and turn on lights in schools, clinics and remote villages. We welcome and support Myanmar’s goal to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.” Said World Bank Southeast Asia Country Director Ulrich Zachau.
Right now, the insufficient access to electricity has been a real challenge faced by young generations who are seeking to enrich themselves through reading and having class.
In a rural school located east of Mandalay in Myanmar, there are 75 students in the 8th grade class. The school has just a few rooms and each lit by a grey cloudy light.
Studying at night for Kyaw San, a high school student in Buu Tar Suu village in Myanmar’s Yangon Division, can be a real challenge. During the rainy season, he usually has no choice but to study by dim candlelight because the old solar-powered lamps cannot last long enough.
“If the battery is charged I have light, otherwise I must work by candlelight.” Says Win Win Nwe, a grade 5 student who faces a similar situation when she studies for exams.
However, the cost for candle would add a burden to her family. It shows that studying without the access to electricity is an extremely hard thing for students in Myanmar’s impoverished rural areas.
According to the World Bank, during the projected six years, the financing will also provide grid connections for 23,000 schools, clinics and community centers. The electricity will enable 132,000 streetlights to turn on, village markets to open and people’s safety to improve.
“The National Electrification Plan will transform Myanmar by giving the people of our towns and villages access to more job opportunities, better health care and lighting for classrooms,” said U Aung Than Oo, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Electric Power of Government of Myanmar.
“The Government of Myanmar is now accelerating its work to expand the grid and to bring power to rural areas — with the critical support from the World Bank.”
– Shengyu Wang