WASHINGTON, Tuesday, April 28, 2020 (WAFA) – The World Bank approved a $14 million grant as part of a multiphase Advancing Sustainability in Performance, Infrastructure, and Reliability of Energy Sector (ASPIRE) program to improve operational and financial performance of the Palestinian electricity institutions and diversification of energy sources, yesterday said to a World Bank press release.

The program will benefit from an additional $49 million grant from donor partners, members of the Partnership for Infrastructure Development Multi-Donor Trust Fund (PID MDTF) – Denmark, Netherlands, Norway, France, Finland, Sweden, Croatia, Portugal, United Kingdom and Australia – administered by the World Bank.

“Power demand in West Bank is fast outpacing supply and Gaza is already facing severe challenges with electricity supply. This multiphase programmatic approach, new to the region, is a model of collaboration between the World Bank, the Palestinian authority and the donor partners to ensure more stable energy supplies while enabling transformation of the sector.” said Kanthan Shankar, World Bank Country Director for West Bank and Gaza.

The new program builds on the World Bank flagship report Securing Energy for Development and calls for sustained financing to undertake longer-term planning, infrastructure interventions and, concerted policy reform measures.

Phase one of the program will focus on building new infrastructure and rehabilitating existing ones to improve reliability and facilitate better electricity interconnections with Israel and Jordan. It will also support improved metering systems with focus on identifying solutions for the poorer communities and reducing non-technical losses due to theft and unregistered customers.

The program will pay special attention to gender gaps. The solar funding mechanism available for households and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Gaza will strengthen support for female-headed households in Gaza and will be expanded to the West Bank. The program will also support women engineers and entrepreneurs through private sector participation in renewable energy.

“In the Palestinian fragile context, the multi-phase program will offer the flexibility to adapt the course of actions to new emerging challenges and opportunities while aiming for a more stable and sustainable energy sector. Over eight-years, the program will enable the sector to strengthen its creditworthiness and attract private sector investment,” said Monali Ranade, World Bank Senior Energy Specialist.