Uganda president: World Bank to help build more dams

Uganda President Yoweri Museveni received a pledge from World Bank President Robert Zoellick to help Uganda build more hydroelectric projects to overcome electricity shortage, Museveni’s office said.

Museveni met Zoellick in Addis Ababa during the World Bank head’s tour of Africa that took him to Ethiopia, Mauritania, Liberia, and Mozambique.

“Mr. Zoellick regretted power shortages that Uganda has experienced in the last two years,” Museveni’s office said February 2. “He said that his organization will give financial assistance to boost Uganda’s energy generation through constructing more dams.”

Most recently the bank helped finance Uganda’s 250-MW Bujagali hydroelectric project, now under construction on the Victoria Nile River. (HNN 1/9/08) Museveni is pushing for construction of additional hydro projects, notably the 250-MW Karuma project on the Nile. (HNN 1/15/08)

On the last stop in his tour, Zoellick visited Mozambique. The bank is Mozambique’s largest donor. (HNN 11/22/07) Zoellick met Prime Minister Luisa Diogo, a former finance minister and World Bank official, and held round-table talks with the business community.

Zoellick visited the Mozal aluminum smelter near Maputo, Mozambique, belonging to BHP Billiton, the world’s largest mining company. Billiton’s expansion plans depend on more power since smelters require huge quantities of electricity. The smelter contributes almost three-quarters of the country’s exports.

Zoellick met finance ministers from Liberia, Togo, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Ivory Coast on January 29, pledging to seek ways of giving quicker financial support to speed their recovery from recent conflicts. Earlier, Zoellick met donors and United Nations officials to discuss how to fund Liberia’s infrastructure needs, which the government puts at US$700 million to US$800 million, mostly. The bank oversees a Liberia infrastructure trust fund that already has US$90 million. (HNN 2/27/07)

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