Burma

World Bank Approves $460 Million Funding for Power Generation, Health Services in Myanmar

By The Irrawaddy 1 June 2020

YANGON—The World Bank (WB) has announced it will provide a total of US$460 million (645 billion kyats) in credit to Myanmar to upgrade electricity power generation projects and increase access to quality essential health services, with a focus on maternal, newborn and child health.

The WB said on Saturday its board approved $350 million in credit from the International Development Association (IDA) to increase the output and efficiency of power generation and improve the resilience of Myanmar’s electricity system to climate change and disasters.

Under the Myanmar Power System Efficiency and Resilience Project, the credit will be used to upgrade the Ywama gas-fired power plant, which aims to improve the availability and reliability of electricity services to consumers in Yangon Region, the WB said.

Last year, the bank warned that Myanmar needed to invest up to $2 billion annually in its electricity sector to sustain economic growth, as electricity consumption is expected to increase by 11 percent yearly until 2030.

The bank predicts Myanmar’s electricity demand will reach 8,600 megawatts (MW) in 2025, and 12,600 MW in 2030, while current electricity production is around 3,600 MW. The Ministry of Electricity and Energy said electricity consumption had increased by 15-19 percent annually over the past few years.

Myanmar has the lowest access to electricity in ASEAN; only half of the country’s 54.5 million population is connected to the national gird.

The WB also approved $110 million in additional financing for the Essential Health Services Access Project (EHSAP), which has been implemented nationwide since 2015.

The additional financing for EHSAP, consisting of a $100-million IDA credit and a $10-million Global Financing Facility (GFF) grant, will continue to support the Ministry of Health and Sports (MOHS) to increase access to quality essential health services, with a focus on maternal, newborn, and child health, the bank said.

The additional financing will support primary healthcare infrastructure in some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged townships for essential service delivery and to scale up activities to strengthen the health system, including pandemic preparedness and response, the bank said.

According to the WB, EHSAP has supported over 12,000 primary health-care facilities across the country since 2015, ranging from township hospitals to sub-rural health centers, with monthly funds to improve service delivery at these critical health facilities.

Last week, Myanmar’s Parliament approved $50 million in borrowing from the WB for use by the country’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan to improve hospital systems and public health emergency preparedness in the battle against the coronavirus across the country.

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