France offers government Shs58b loan

French Ambassador to Uganda Sophie Makame (L) exchanges documents with Finance Minister Maria Kiwanuka after signing the agreement yesterday. Photo by Stephen Otage.

The government has obtained a $23 million (about Shs58 billion) loan from the French Development Agency to finance the construction of the 220KV Nkenda –Fort Portal to Hoima Transmission Line on top of the Shs136 billion ($54 million) Norwegian grant.

The project expected to start next year and end in 2017, will, according to Finance Ministry Ms Maria Kiwanuka, electrify western Uganda and facilitate the extraction of oil from the Albertine Graben. The project is also expected to help with the evacuation of the proposed thermal electricity at Mputa in Hoima district.

"The support will go a long way towards the electrification of the western axis, where the recent developments in the extractive oil industry have shown positive developments,” the Ms Kiwanuka said.

Earlier, French government provided Shs2 billion to undertake the feasibility study of the project.

The new French ambassador to Uganda, Ms Sophie Makame, said the loan is a response to the country’s energy needs.

Ms Makame also revealed that Uganda and France have agreed to improve water supply and sanitation and fund the private sector’s development, among others.

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