Dec 15, 2010 The European Investment Bank (EIB) Wednesday announced a US$135 million loan to co-finance a new 667-km high voltage transmission line being built in Tanzania to improve power distribution, to the north of the country, from existing and future generating sources in the south of the country. The state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) is undertaking the project between the southern highlands Iringa Region and the midwest gold field Shinyanga Region. According to government officials here, the Tanzania Backbone Interconnector Project is seen as a key link in future interconnection with Zambia and Kenya for promoting regional economic cooperation and development. ''The EIB is committed to supporting energy infrastructure across Africa. The Tanzania Backbone Interconnector Project is a key infrastructure project that will reinforce electricity supply in Tanzania. It will provide access to electricity in rural areas, improve grid stability and in the future it will also reinforce the supply of energy across East Africa,'' said Plutarchos Sakellaris, the Bank's Vice President for Africa. The project is part of the national grid reinforcement strategy of TANESCO and will provide access to cost-efficient electricity essential for private sector development in the country. Snaking across the regions of Iringa, Dodoma, and Singida up to Shinyanga, the line will transfer hydropower generated in the south to northern Tanzania, currently experiencing strong economic growth and increased demand for electricity due to developing mining and industrial activities. Commending the project as a model of cooperation between the Tanzanian and international development partners, the European Union Ambassador to Tanzania, Tim Clarke said: "No doubt that the Backbone Project will make a decisive contribution to poverty reduction not only in Tanzania, but also in the wider region. "Access to energy is crucial for growth and development, and is a cornerstone for cooperation between the European Union and Africa. Speaking at the contract signing ceremony here, Tanzania's permanent secretary in the Finance and Economic Affairs ministry, Ramadhani Khijjah, said the government considers the energy sector as the life blood for the socio-economic development of the country. Khijjah and Kurt Simonsen, head of the EIB East Africa regional representation signed the deal. The US$468 million power transmission project is co-financed by the EIB, World Bank, African Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Korean Economic Development Cooperation Fund and the Tanzanian government. Source: PANA Siasa zitaingia soon na hela itapotea katika mazingira ya utata? Let's wait n see!