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IFC Will Help Bring Electricity to Rural Areas in Lao PDR

Vientiane, Lao PDR, December 7, 2009 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will help the government of Lao PDR identify private investors capable of delivering sustainable and high-quality electricity to remote, rural areas cut off from the national power grid.
Lao PDR’s Department of Electricity, part of the Ministry of Energy and Mines, today signed an agreement to appoint IFC as lead transaction advisor in assisting the government select, through a competitive bidding process, private investors who will be expected to provide power to over 5,000 electricity-starved villagers in Lao’s Houaphan and Xiengkhuang provinces.
“Cooperating with IFC is one activity under our rural electrification program. The government target is to provide electricity to 90 percent of the population by 2020, so this project is a priority for us,” said Hatsady Sysoulath, Deputy Director General of the Department of Electricity. “We believe that IFC is the right partner to help Lao PDR.”
Providing the electricity will take the form of public-private partnerships that are expected to mobilize over $1 million in private investments. The power systems will generate electricity using micro-hydro technology, a green solution using small-scale water turbines to harness renewable energy from small streams without generating greenhouse gases.
“The private participations in these partnerships are expected to be awarded to Lao companies, which will demonstrate the ability of the local private sector to provide key infrastructure services even in the most remote parts of the country,” said Edgar Saravia, Manager for IFC’s Infrastructure Services in East Asia and the Pacific.  
The World Bank Group has been supporting the government in implementing a rural electrification program since the early 1990s. This program encompasses reform of the Lao power sector, supporting increased efficiency of service delivery, financial sustainability, and expansion of electrification through the national grid and several off-grid initiatives. IFC’s program is a critical part of the World Bank Group’s efforts.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with the International Bank for Reconciliation and Development IBRD (the World Bank), it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by helping governments expand electricity coverage  through public-private partnerships.
In Lao PDR, IFC’s advisory services are delivered in partnership with Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Switzerland.  
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .