- The World Bank has approved a US$138 million grant to improve access to clean electricity in the Central African Republic through the Electricity Sector Strengthening and Access Project (PARSE).
CAR has abundant low-cost energy resources, including significant solar potential (5 kWh/m2/day), but these resources remain underdeveloped. In addition, COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the country’s economy, and years of conflict, coupled with the lack of services essential to human development, have led to poor human capital outcomes.
“The PARSE Project will build on the achievements of the PURACEL and PASEEL projects by increasing the supply of and access to clean electricity services. It will promote the provision of off-grid solar systems for schools, hospitals, administrative centers, and agricultural purposes,” said Han Fraeters, World Bank Country Manager for the Central African Republic. “Support for the SENI-Plus Project will provide quality health care to more than 40% of the Central African population, including more than 100,000 pregnant women and 426,125 children under the age of five who will enjoy free health care,” he added.
The electricity sector is characterized by inadequate infrastructure, a weak policy and regulatory framework, and a utility that is struggling to recover costs and thus maintain and expand its services. Only 14.3% of the country’s population has access to electricity, with rates ranging from approximately 35% in Bangui to about 0.4% in rural areas. Health care delivery is constrained by a shortage of health workers, infrastructure, and medical equipment, and by difficulties in physically accessing services; the lack of a functioning national supply chain to efficiently deliver medicines and medical supplies; and limited coverage of community-based interventions to promote health and prevent and treat diseases among the most remote and vulnerable communities.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal