In 1977 Bangladesh adopted the Rural Electrification Programme (REP)
for the distribution of electricity to the rural areas and created
the Rural Electrification Board (REB) for implementing it. The
objective of the present REP is to provide affordable and reliable
electricity to all by the year 2020. The REB works
with 67 semi-autonomous bodies, the so-called electrification
co-operatives or Palli Bidyut Samities (PBSs). This organisation
structure was copied from the rural electrification process in the
United States in the first half of the previous century. The REB
since its initiation has received
assistance from the National Rural
Electric Co-operative Association (NRECA), financed by the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID).
From 1995 until 2000 the Netherlands supported the REP with
programme funding. This assistance of USD 29 million was extended
until 2003. After the introduction of the sector approach by the
Netherlands, GoB suggested that the Netherlands would continue to
support the REB. Since then, the Embassy has been exploring the
possibility of the implementation of the sectoral approach in rural
electrification. In the mean time, it is supporting the REB with one
of their main programmes for the extension and intensification of
the electricity grid with USD 36 million for the period 2002-2004.
Another part of developing a sector programme is the multi-joint
co-financing of Technical Assistance (TA) to the REB. The Embassy is
in the process of appraising completing this kind of assistance.
Part of this assistance will be used for the drafting of a new
master plan for Rural Electrification, the implementation of a
gender equity mainstreaming strategy, the promotion of renewable
energy resources, and other TA that is required for REB.