South Sudan launched its first electricity grid and power distribution system Thursday, in the country’s capital Juba.
This is the first time the city will have electricity. The government and other private institutions are using their own generators.
President Salva Kiir said war is over and the focus now will be on development to deliver services to people.
“To my follow citizens, today marks the beginning of the new era: No more war. This is the time of development and services delivery to people,” Kiir said, while commissioning the plant.
He said electricity will eradicate pollution that comes with large scale use of diesel in the environment, and assured the country that the government will focus on developing hydroelectric power and the renewable energy sector.
“This project will spur development in the country where more than 70% of lighting relies on generators and others on kerosene,” Kiir said.
The Ezra Group from Eritrea has invested as much as $289 million in a power plant that will provide 100 megawatts for Juba when completed, the Managing Director, Ghebrengu Ezra, told reporters during the launch Thursday. “The first phase of 30 megawatts is launched today and we shall complete the other four phases over the next two years.”
“Ezra group is willing to invest in this project without any guarantee. This first phase is going to supply electricity to about 50,000 to 70,000 households in Juba,” he said.
Distribution of the power will be partnered by the government and Ezra “to make sure the collections are done and they take their share and whatever remains for the government goes to the Ministry of Finance,” Minister of Energy and Dams Dhieu Mathok told reporters.
The Juba City Power distribution system was constructed with the support of the African Development Bank which provided $38 million, according to Mathok.