Posted by: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse

The World Bank (WB) granted Tunisia a $ 12.5 million donation (34.8 million dinars) to fund the technical studies related to the electricity interconnection project between Tunisia and Italy, called “ELMED.”

“The objective of the project’s technical assistance phase, due to finish off within one year, is to conduct five technical feasibility, environmental and social impact studies,” said Development, Investment and International Cooperation Minister Zied Laadhari.

Speaking at the agreement-signing ceremony on Thursday, the minister explained that the technical assistance phase of the ELMED project will mobilise investments worth $ 13.4 million.

“The Tunisian State will contribute by means of $ 0.9 million and the $ 12.5 million will be provided by two trust funds managed by the WB; namely the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) by means of $ 5.5 million and the Global Infrastructure Platform ($ 7 million),” he specified.

For the achievement of the “ELMED” project, whose total cost is estimated at € 600 million (1,800 million dinars), the European Union has undertaken to mobilise half of the amount and the rest will be financed through Public / Private Partnerships, Laadhari pointed out.

He added that once completed, this project will help Tunisia meet its energy needs and export the surplus to the European market.

Taking the floor, WB representative in Tunisia Tony Verheijen laid emphasis on the strategic importance of the ELMED interconnection project, which will reinforce the overall security of the Euro-Mediterranean electricity system by diversifying the sources and supply routes and “will optimise the use of energy resources in countries on both sides of the Mediterranean.”

“ELMED” project will help create a 600 km submarine high-voltage interconnection, with a power of 600 MW, connecting Tunisia and Italy.