Donna Thiessen
(703) 875-4357


WINDHOEK, NAMIBIA (October 2, 2007) – Continuing the agency's support for strategies to meet electricity demands in Southern Africa is the focus of a USTDA grant to the Namibian Electricity Control Board (ECB). The grant reflects the commitment of President George W. Bush to Africa's develop under the African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI), which seeks to integrate African economies and to strengthen their capacity to take advantage of trade opportunities afforded by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

A ceremony to announce the $423,790 technical assistance program was held at the ECB headquarters in Windhoek. The Chargé de Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek Eric Benjaminson and ECB Chief Executive Officer Siseho Simasiku announced the signing of the grant agreement on behalf of the U.S. Government and ECB, respectively.

The grant will support the establishment of commercially viable independent power producer (IPP) projects in Namibia by facilitating the implementation of an IPP and Investment Market Framework that was developed under a previous USTDA grant to the NECB. In 2005, USTDA awarded a grant to the ECB that funded the development of a formalized electricity market model with a focus on facilitating investments by IPPs and independent transmission companies in Namibia. Due, in part, to the results of this successful program, the Namibian Parliament recently approved the Electricity Bill of 2007, which provides increased authority to the ECB to fulfill its mandate as the electric power regulatory authority in Namibia.

The ECB has received a number of proposals for IPP projects to date and has issued several conditional licenses as a first step. The USTDA grant announced today is designed to strengthen the ECB's ability to effectively review these and future IPP license applications, enhance its decision making process for license approvals, and efficiently monitor IPP projects for regulatory compliance.

The AGCI, which was announced by President Bush in 2005, furthers the economic development goals of AGOA by emphasizing the expansion of Africa's trade capacity. AGOA provides beneficiary countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with preferential access to the U.S. market.

The ECB has selected CORE International, Inc. of Washington, D.C. to provide the USTDA-funded assistance. CORE International was the U.S. firm that successfully completed the first phase of the assistance under the initial USTDA grant.

The U.S. Trade and Development Agency advances economic development and U.S. commercial interests in developing and middle-income countries. The agency funds various forms of technical assistance, early investment analysis, training, reverse trade missions and business workshops that support the development of a modern infrastructure and a fair, open trading environment. USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to support sound investment policy and decision-making in host countries creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and sustainable economic development. In carrying out its mission, USTDA gives emphasis to economic sectors that may benefit from U.S. exports of goods and services.


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