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Power restored to Guinea-Bissau’s capital by Turkish firm Karpowership

Power restored to Guinea-Bissau’s capital by Turkish firm Karpowership

Power restored to Guinea-Bissau’s capital by Turkish firm Karpowership

Power restored to Guinea-Bissau’s capital by Turkish firm Karpowership

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  • Power was restored to Guinea-Bissau’s capital by Turkish firm Karpowership.
  • Guinea-Bissau is one of the world’s poorest countries.
  • Access to electricity has improved in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years.
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Karpowership, a Turkish company, has restored electricity to Guinea-Bissau’s capital after discontinuing power supplies due to an unpaid bill of $15 million.

The company resumed operations late on Wednesday after receiving a partial payment of $6 million from the government.

Guinea-Bissau, one of the world’s poorest countries, had been in darkness for nearly two days, impacting hospitals and causing radio stations to go off the air. The nation has faced ongoing instability since gaining independence.

The government of Guinea-Bissau entered into an agreement with Karpowership, one of the world’s largest floating power plant operators, to provide all the country’s electricity in 2019.

A spokesperson for Karpowership expressed gratitude for Guinea-Bissau’s efforts to settle the outstanding bill, allowing the resumption of electricity supplies. The company noted that prolonged non-payment had compelled their fuel suppliers to halt operations.

The Energy Minister of Guinea-Bissau, Isuf Baldé, confirmed that $6 million of the $15 million bill had been paid. He acknowledged that in a small and economically challenged country like Guinea-Bissau, transferring such a substantial sum takes time.

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He also pointed out that the contract with Karpowership needed to be renegotiated due to a nearly doubled cost since its inception, rendering it unaffordable.

The power outage in Bissau, a city with a population of over 400,000, began on Tuesday. Public hospitals used generators for essential surgeries, but water supplies were disrupted due to the electricity shortage.

Hospitals appealed for power to cook food for patients. Journalists and residents faced challenges, including the lack of running water and soaring temperatures.

According to the African Development Bank, Guinea-Bissau has one of the lowest electricity connection rates in Africa, with an estimated 10% national access and 20% in the city of Bissau.

Frequent power outages have been a longstanding issue, with some parts of the city enduring more than four hours of daily power cuts.

The World Bank noted in 2020 that Guinea-Bissau’s electricity sector had been plagued by political instability, poor management, a lack of planning, and vested interests.

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Karpowership provides electricity to six other African countries and has taken a firm stance on non-payment. In the previous month, the company suspended power to Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, due to an unpaid bill of $40 million.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), a significant portion of the population still lacks grid connections, with over 50% of the region’s residents having no access to electricity. In contrast, access to electricity has improved in sub-Saharan Africa in recent years.

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