LUANDA (Reuters) - The African Development Bank (AFDB) has approved a US$1 billion loan for Angola to help develop its war-ravaged electricity network and facilitate reforms to government financial management, the bank said.
Angola's power network was devastated by a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002 and the country has grappled with frequent and long outages, forcing households and businesses to rely on expensive diesel-fuelled generators.
Africa's second-biggest oil producer has posted rapid economic expansion since the war, but analysts say its weak energy network is a major obstacle to developing other sectors and reducing reliance on oil revenue.
President Jose Eduardo dos Santos's government plans to spend $23 billion by 2017 to quintuple installed capacity by building large dams and improving the power transport and distribution networks.
"The government has already shown strong ownership and commitment to the power sector and the public financial management reform process," said Alex Rugamba, director of the AFDB's Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department.
"The bank is happy to help the government to implement the ongoing reforms with needed financing and technical expertise, in collaboration with other partners," Rugamba said in a statement seen by Reuters on Thursday.
The AFDB said it would study how Angola managed its public finances and produce a medium-term plan to address weaknesses.
Dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979, has long been accused by local opponents and international lenders of keeping Angola's finances opaque and mismanaging the country's wealth.
The International Monetary Fund in March warned of continued weaknesses in Angola's financial management and urged the government to take steps to promote transparency.
Transparency International ranks Angola 153 out of 177 countries in its Corruption Perceptions Index.