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South Sudan plans multi-million power project in Upper Nile

October 22, 2016 (JUBA) - South Sudan plans to construct a multi-million dollar power transmission line in its oil-rich Upper Nile to connect Renk and Malakal towns, the finance minister has disclosed.

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South Sudan minister Stephen Dhieu Dau (Getty photo)

Completion of the power project, Stephen Dhieu said, requires $362 million.

"Continued investment in this vital industry – such as this new power plant – creates jobs but also helps keep the lights on as we move towards a cleaner energy future", finance minister said on Friday.

He further stressed that the power project will encourage agriculture, forestry and industrialization in the country when implemented, but fell short of revealing when the implementation of the project will commence and from where funds to support the project will come.

Sources at the ministry of finance, however, told Sudan Tribune that government was in talks with its Chinese counterpart to fund the power project, but added that discussions had not been completed.

The government is optimistic the new power project would create jobs to the local people once the plant becomes operational.

In 2012, the young nation established a national power company to spearhead investments in the energy sector as part of measures to rebuild the East African nation, which was ravaged by years of war.

South Sudan Electricity Corporation, which falls under the ministry of energy and mining, oversees the energy subsector, with its mandate of generate, transmit, distribute and manage sale of electricity.

With less than 100MW of installed electricity generation capacity currently, less than 5% of the country’s nearly 13 million people reportedly have access to electricity, mainly in the capital city, Juba. This is despite the nation having vast potential to generate electricity from sources like hydro, along the Nile, solar and geothermal.

Meanwhile, South Sudan has already undertaken feasibility studies for various huge hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 2, 000 MW. The planned projects, include Fula (890 MW), Shukoli (235 MW), Lakki (410 MW) and Bedden (570 MW).