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IFC Loan to Lao PDR Utility Boosts Country’s Rural Electrification Campaign

Vientiane, Lao PDR, July 27, 2010 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, through its joint World Bank-IFC sub-national initiative is providing Electricite du Laos, the largest utility company in Lao PDR, with a $15 million loan to expand its electrical grid, benefiting 37,000 rural households in central and southern parts of the country.
The groundbreaking investment represents the first time IFC has extended a loan to a state-owned enterprise in Lao PDR. The project supports phase two of the country’s  Rural Electrification Program, which has a goal of  providing electricity to 90 percent of Lao households by 2020, in turn improving social welfare, spurring economic growth, and creating jobs.
“Partnering with IFC strengthens the capacity of EDL and will allow us to fulfill our commitment toward the government’s ambitious electrification goal,” said Khammany Inthirath, Managing Director of EDL. “We have made good progress toward this mission, thanks to continued support from the World Bank Group and other development partners.”
In addition to grid expansion, the second phase of the Rural Electrification Program involves promoting techniques to minimize energy losses in the distribution system and increase energy efficiency.
“This project marks the start of a long-term partnership between IFC and EDL,” said Simon Andrews, IFC’s Regional Manager for Lao PDR, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. “The loan supports the initiative by the Lao government and EDL to seek diversified sources of funding in implementing their plans for economic growth and development.”
The loan is part of a larger financial support package from the World Bank Group that includes a direct International Development Association loan as well as financing from other development partners, including Norway’s Agency for Development and the Australian Agency for International Development.
“The loan builds on the World Bank Group’s existing strong partnership with EDL and  will further boost EDL’s credentials as a well run commercial entity and also contribute to the socio-economic development of the Lao people by expanding electrification in the country,“ said Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Manager of the World Bank in Lao PDR.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .