Nairobi — The energy sector has received a Sh5.4 billion (51 million euro) boost from the European Union (EU) and the French government.
The loan agreement being facilitated by the French Development Agency (AFD) will finance the Scaling-Up Access to Energy Project as well as support pro-poor projects in the rural/urban areas.
"The Scaling-Up Access to Energy Project will accelerate rural electrification in order to promote sustainable development through the scaling up of the StimaLoan Revolving Fund, which will enable many low-income Kenyan households to get access to electricity," Finance Minister Njeru Githae.
The Kenya Power StimaLoan programme, for pre-financing of connection fees, is to benefit approximately 500,000 new customers over a period of five years.
In addition one million Kenya Power customers will receive energy saving light bulbs.
Having financed three projects in Kenya's electrification sector since 2004; the AFD is extending its support through the new loan to develop off-grid electricity access through development of renewable energy generators and associated mini-grids in rural areas.
Interest on the Sh5.4 billion loan is 1.1 percent with a repayment period of 20 years and a five-year grace period.
The French government also committed a second instrument, which is a grant worth Sh55 million for the Social Fund for Development Programme.
"The fund is a financial tool of the French embassy in Kenya that supports Kenyan NGOs in the implementation of development projects. This mechanism contributes to poverty alleviation," French Ambassador to Kenya Etienne de Poncins said.
Through the AFD, the French government has committed a total of Sh18.8 billion to Kenya for this financial year, which is 28.4 percent of the commitments by the country's bilateral partners towards financing of various sectors of the economy.
This year alone support from the French government has nearly tripled from last financial year's Sh6.4 billion.