Ethiopia Signs a Deal for Construction of a High-Voltage Transmission Line to Kenya

Ethiopia signed a US$20 million-agreement with China Electric Power Equipment and Technology for the construction of a high-voltage transmission line connecting with Kenya as part of plans to boost regional power exports.

The 433-km project will stretch from Wolaita in southern Ethiopia to the border, making half of a planned 1,045 km link with Kenya. It was signed on Friday (June 19) Ethiopian Electric Power's Chief Executive Azeb Asnake and the CEPET's vice-president Chen Wei.

Ethiopia currently exports less than 10mw to Kenyan border towns but has agreed to sell 400mw. The new transmission line will have a 2,000 mw capacity when complete in less than three years. Ms. Azeb said the project is jointly financed by African Development Bank, World Bank and the French Development Agency, with the AfDB financing the Ethiopian part of the project.

Speaking at the ceremony, Water, Irrigation and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu said that the Ethio-Kenya Power Interconnection Project will help to utilize power resources together and the national network expansion will facilitate power trade in the region. Ethiopia plans to increase the current 100 megawatts it sells to Sudan and the 50 megawatts to Djibouti this year. It also has agreements to export 400 megawatts to Rwanda and Tanzania. Burundi is in discussions to import a similar amount. Deals with South Sudan and Yemen are likely to be delayed due to conflict.