After a formal peace agreement ended a 20-year civil war in South Sudan in 2005, NRECA International became an early recipient of USAID funding to help this new country rebuild. The South Sudan Rural Electrification Project started as the design and construction of a small generation-distribution utility in the town of Yei evolved into a self-sustaining municipal electric cooperative serving approximately 1,200 consumers. In 2008, USAID financed the construction of two additional market town electrification projects – both modeled after the one in Yei – in Kapoeta and Maridi. Before additional civil unrest took place, each of those served approximately 650 customers – households, commercial enterprises, public institutions and NGOs.
In 2013 NRECA International began providing institutional development assistance to the new utilities, including training utility personnel and their Boards of Directors under a three-year Electrification Sustainability Program in South Sudan (ESP). The ESP supported the process of achieving long-term sustainability for the electric generation-distribution utilities in Yei (YECO), Kapoeta (KAPECO) and Maridi (MECO) and strengthening their operations through a program of mentoring, technical assistance and training.
Financed by the Government of Norway, NRECA International also defined an investment plan and designed a preliminary hydropower distribution system for the power utility in Juba as well as for potential mini hydropower plants near Maridi and Yei.
In July 2016, due to civil unrest and armed conflict in the region, NRECA International evacuated its last employee from Yei until further notice.
NRECA International’s South Sudan projects have benefited greatly from the expertise of volunteer power linemen and other staff from NRECA’s members, the U.S.-based rural electric co-ops. Recruited and managed by NRECA International, these volunteers worked closely to build and upgrade power lines, offer training and mentor local staff on how to successfully run a utility.
- United States Agency for International Development
- Government of Norway
- International Finance Corporation