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Generating Electricity in South Sudan


Provider: Egypt – Beneficiary: South Sudan


Egypt: Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MoEE) – South Sudan: Government of South Sudan (GoSS), Ministry of Energy and Mining Institutions

Institutions in Egypt

MoEE, Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), Electric Power Systems Engineering Company (EPS) Institutions in South Sudan Ministry of Energy and Mining, National Electricity Corporation (NEC)


The GoSS called for Egypt's assistance in implementing development projects in South Sudan to enhance the lives of local communities. As a result, the Government of Egypt (GoE) launched this initiative to generate electricity in some South Sudan cities.

This initiative aims to strengthen relations between Egypt and South Sudan on both the governmental and societal levels. In addition, it supports the development process in South Sudan through the following mechanisms:

 Generating electricity in cities that are deprived of electricity, which improves people's standards of living, allows access to other services and facilitates implementation of other development projects.

 Building technical local capacities in the fields of construction, operation and maintenance of electrical power projects.

 Training and rehabilitation of administrative cadres in South Sudan.

 Electrification of several cities in South Sudan, and supplying several houses, hospitals, and utilities with electricity.

According to this initiative, the two governments have agreed to establish four power plants in four South Sudan cities. This initiative includes two stages, as follows:

Stage I: Establishment of a power plant in Wau City on the western bank of the Jur River state.
(Time Framework: 2006- 2009)

Stage II: Establishment of three power plants in three cities: Yambio (West Equatorial State), Bor (Jonglei State) , Rumbek (State of Lakes)
(Time Framework: 2007- till present)

Background and Setup

This is the first co-operation project between Egypt and South Sudan in the field of electricity and energy in the last ten years. It started as a response to the request of the South Sudan Minister of Energy and Mining to the head of the Egyptian-Cabinet to support South Sudan in its development programme. After negotiations between the Egyptian Minister of electricity and energy and his Sudanese counterpart, the two partners agreed to generate electricity in different states in South Sudan.

The MoEE entrusted work to the EEHC, which in turn assigned project consultancy and management, as well as co-ordination among the different stakeholders to EPS. Work started in Jur River State, Wau city, by adding two additional generating units 2*1Mw to the two already installed generating units that stopped functioning completely in 2003, in addition to installing distribution networks to feed governmental facilities and households. After the success of this project, the two governments agreed to replicate this experience in three other cities that lack access to electricity; Bor, Rumbek and Yambio.

This initiative is expected to create the following outcomes:

 Establishing four power plants to supply four cities in South Sudan with electricity.

 Training of eight engineers from South Sudan (Two from each city) on operation and maintenance in the supplying companies of equipment: six engineers will receive training in Finland and two in Denmark.

 Follow-Up and consultancy on the achieved outcomes to ensure sustainability.

After consultations between the two partners, it was realised that two challenges are needed to be resolved before starting work. First, transportation of commodities and labour, as well as work, are possible only during the dry season which is five months per year, therefore work schedule was planned accordingly. Second, there are no enough supplies and labour in South Sudan, thus the Egyptian mission planned to be supplied with the required equipment and skilled labour.

Ownership and Mutual Accountability

This initiative aligns with the national plan and priorities of South Sudan. In the first stage, Wau city was targeted since it is the second largest city and the second most important economic centre in South Sudan with a population of around 137,000. The selection of the beneficiary cities in the second stage was made by the GoSS according to its national priority needs. These choices are supported by indigenous people who believe that these projects are vital to their lives; this was obvious in the celebration made on the arrival of equipment from Egypt to Wau city.

Before determining the targeted cities in the second stage, the two governments agreed on two alternatives: the GoE establishes two power plants and their distribution networks in two cities; or GoE establishes three power plants in three cities while the GoSS establishes their distribution networks. Then the GoSS settled on the second alternative.

Responsibilities were divided among the two partners as follows:

A- Stage I: Construction of power plant in Wau city  Egypt is committed to establish a power plant, with a capacity of 2x1 Megawatts, and its necessary distribution networks in Wau city.

B- Stage II: Construction of three power plants in three cities: Bor, Rumbek, Yambiu
 Egypt is committed to establish three power plants, each in Bor, Rumbek and Yambiu, the capacity of each is 2x1.4 Megawatts.
 South Sudan is committed to construct electricity distribution networks in the three mentioned cities.

It was agreed that after the completion of each project, its administration will be handed over to the South Sudanese side.

All the involved parties were committed to their responsibilities, yet; some challenges have delayed the implementation process, as follows:

 Weak means of telecommunication hindered contacts between the Egyptian and Sudanese sides. However the recent development of the telecommunication industry in South Sudan has improved the situation.
 Different perspectives of implementing agencies, for example on quality standards, caused some disagreements during the implementation process.
 Weak transportation infrastructure impedes movement of equipment and labour, especially that South Sudan is a landlocked area. The only routes available are either through Kenya or Port Sudan; where the latter alternative causes more challenges due to political factors. Part of the problem was resolved after Egypt Air initiated a direct flight from Cairo to Juba.  Lack of banks in Bor, Rumbek,and Yambiu.
 Poor water and sanitation systems increased infection rates with epidemics, especially Malaria, among the staff.
 Political instability and lack of security hindered work progress and limited choices to decision makers.

Given these challenges, the following results were achieved:
 Work is completed in Wau city in February 2009. The two generating units are currently installed and running and the distribution network is accomplished feeding loads in the city.
 Two engineers from Wau city received training on operation and maintenance processes in the supplying company in Denemark.
 Administration of the project in Wau city is handed over to the South Sudanese side, while continuous follow-up and consultancy occurs between the two sides to ensure sustainability.
 Two power generating units and their distribution networks are already installed in Bor and Yambiu cities, and they are expected to be operating before the end of July 2011.
 With regards to Rumbek, the power plant is scheduled to be completed within three months, yet; the installation of its distribution networks is still in progress.

Periodic and final reports on achieved activities and budget are submitted to the following Egyptian authorities: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Planning & International Co-operation, Ministry of Finance, and General Intelligence Services; each according to its specialisation. Meanwhile, information on the projects' activities, budget and results are available to all stakeholders.

Practices that can inform global policies

This experience resolved some problems of North-South Co-operation including culture and language differences, as well as high costs of transfer of resources and wages of staff.

While Egypt has a comparative advantage in the field of electricity, both parties benefited from this experience with regards to developing national capacities. The initiative focused on developing local technical and administrative cadres in South Sudan through consultancy, follow-up and training programmes. It also strengthened the capacities of Egyptian cadres to adapt to hard working conditions and deal with several development challenges. In addition, knowledge gained from this experience added to Egypt and South Sudan understanding of how to strengthen mutual co-operation, and South-South Co-operation (SSC) with other actors.

Lessons learned that can be shared with the international community:

 Conducting a study on the environment of the targeted country prior to the implementation process leads to developing a better work plan and feasibility analysis, as well as reduces risks.
 To avoid lags in the implementation process, certain mechanisms should be followed, such as: co-ordination among different stakeholders, resolving differences among stakeholders and implementing agencies (for example differences regarding quality standards and finishing), and careful assessment of estimates made by outside contractors.
 It is important to provide security and insurance mechanisms that encourage the private sector to invest in Southern countries.
 Engaging banks in SSC through providing long-term loans can resolve the problem of fund constraints.
 Southern countries should develop systems and practices which would facilitate SSC.

Bridging South-South and North-South

This initiative could have benefited from a Northern partner or an international organisation to overcome financial constraints, provided that co-operation is based on horizontal partnerships among the three parties.

A platform or framework for south-south and triangular knowledge, however, future support by mechanisms would be welcomed to replicate this experience with other states in South Sudan or similar countries.

Demand and Supply

GoE is interested to share this experience with other south-south actors, which can enrich the initiative by receiving feedbacks as well as strengthen south-south knowledge among south countries. This initiative can be replicated in other countries that lack access to electricity, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa, yet; some adaptations should be applied to the technicalities of the project based on the local environment and resources available, for example in some countries hydropower generators are more suitable than diesel engines.

By adding this case and others to the international network for knowledge exchange, it is hoped that this will facilitate matching supply and demand in SSC.


The initiative started in 2006 and is still in progress.


This is a cost-sharing initiative, with Egypt contributing LE 158 million and South Sudan US $ 15 million. In-kind resources included: medium-speed machines imported by Egypt from Finland and Denmark, building materials, construction materials, cables, switch gears, and skilled and unskilled labour from both Sudan and Egypt.

Name of Primary Contact Persons

1. Eng. Mohamed Moussa Omran
2. Eng. Omneya Mostafa Sabry
3. Sherihan Bekhiet
4. Ibrahim Ghanem

Title of Primary Contact Persons

1. First undersecretary of State for Planning, Research and Follow-up ,

2. Undersecretary of State for Research, Planning & International Co-operation,

3. Coordinator South-South Co-operation (SSC) Unit, Ministry of International Co-operation

4. International Co-operation Officer, SSC Unit, Ministry of International Co-operation


Cairo, Egypt

Contact Emails


Key Players and Champions

1. Engineer Hosny El Kholy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Electric Power Systems Company (EPS). E-mail: