France has provided Ethiopia with a $101.5 million grant to build a power transmission line to Kenya.
The grant is part of a $488.7 million loans and grants package that France has provided to Ethiopia after a bilateral cooperation agreement was signed between Ethiopia’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development Sufian Ahmed and French ambassador Jean Christopher Beiliard, the Addis Fortune newspaper reported. France has dramatically escalated its aid to Addis Ababa, as the amount for the transmission line equals France’s entire bilateral assistance in 2004.
France has now become one of the major foreign supporters of Ethiopia, with its official aid to Ethiopia increasing nearly 800 percent since 2006.
Bilateral trade between Ethiopia and France has now topped $65 million a year, but is heavily weighted in favor of France, whose imports account for more than 90 percent of the sum.
Kenya is one of three countries bordering Ethiopia in negotiations with the Ethiopian Electric Power Corp to buy electricity. EEPCo has already started a test transmission of 50MW to Djibouti over a $64 million transmission line built with a loan from the African Development Bank, and Sudan has also signed a memorandum of understanding for purchasing power.
Ethiopia currently produces 2,000 MW of electric power. The Ethiopian government has ambitious plans to produce 10,000 megawatts of hydroelectric power in the next five years and government officials state that Ethiopia has the potential to produce more than 45,000 megawatts of electricity annually from hydro power.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com