WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank on Tuesday approved a $1 billion loan to Pakistan to boost electricity supply and improve farm irrigation methods, the global development lender said.
The bank said $840 million of the loan will help boost capacity at the Tarbela hydro power project, northwest of Islamabad, by 1,410 megawatts. The project would shift capacity away from expensive imported fuel oil to low-cost hydropower, it added.
"It will help Pakistan reduce the gap between supply and demand of electricity by maximizing the benefits of existing infrastructure of Tarbela Dam without requiring any land acquisition or relocation" of people, said Rachid Benmessaoud, World Bank country director for Pakistan.
The remainder of the funding, about $250 million, will improve irrigation on 120,000 acres of land in Punjab and cut wasteful water use, the Washington-based institution said.
About 17,500 families in Punjab would directly benefit from the new irrigation systems, which would increase crop yields and promote water conservation, it added.
Reporting By Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Dan Grebler, Leslie Adler