CoBank Announces $250,000 Contribution to NRECA International

CoBank continues its support for rural electrification projects in developing countries through NRECA International

DENVER (March 4, 2024) — CoBank, a cooperative bank serving the electric industry, agribusinesses, rural infrastructure providers and Farm Credit associations throughout the United States, has contributed $250,000 in support of NRECA International’s rural electrification projects in developing countries. This is the 13th consecutive year CoBank has donated to NRECA International, totaling nearly $3 million in collective contributions. 

NRECA International has helped more than 160 million people worldwide, improving their quality of life by providing access to safe, reliable and affordable electricity.

“CoBank is honored to continue our support of NRECA International. Access to reliable power charges economic development in rural communities by creating new jobs, new industries and new service sectors,” said Tom Halverson, president and CEO of CoBank. “Electrification also aids in health care and assists in higher literacy levels, bridging socio-economic gaps. We are incredibly proud to stand behind that work.”  

This year’s donation will be used to support electric cooperative development in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in northern Zambia, which opened its first electric cooperative last July. The electric cooperative movement in sub-Saharan Africa has been critical in bringing affordable and reliable electricity to homes, businesses and public institutions.

NRECA International is also continuing its electrification plan in Guatemala with the assistance of electric cooperatives across the United States. Last year, nine teams of line workers from 47 different electric co-ops traveled to the country as part of a member-sponsored volunteer program – making it possible for 3,000 Guatemalans to receive electricity for the first time. 

When the Guatemalan project initially began in 1987, just 45% of homes in Guatemala had electric service, with only 10% of rural areas receiving service. Today, Guatemala has electricity service for nearly 95% of all households and businesses. However, there are scattered housing clusters and small villages throughout Guatemala that still need electricity. CoBank and NRECA International are determined to continue their efforts to reach 100% coverage. 

“Electric cooperatives are engines of community economic development,” said Dan Waddle, NRECA International’s senior vice president. “International electrification has taken huge steps forward, and we’re proud to continue playing a leading role in that success. But much work remains and with generous supporters like CoBank, I'm confident that we will keep the momentum going and continue building electric cooperatives that can last generations.”

Serving as a non-profit corporation, NRECA International is an affiliate of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a national trade association representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives across the United States. CoBank’s support helps to bring NRECA International’s global rural electrification projects to fruition and supports the volunteer efforts of U.S.-based rural electric cooperatives that generously donate the time and expertise of their own employees to help transition many of these projects from opportunity to reality. A portion of CoBank’s financial gifts help to defray the total cost of volunteer projects, thereby reducing the amount of financial support each cooperative is required to provide on their own.

About CoBank

CoBank is a cooperative bank serving vital industries across rural America. The bank provides loans, leases, export financing and other financial services to agribusinesses and rural power, water and communications providers in all 50 states. The bank also provides wholesale loans and other financial services to affiliated Farm Credit associations serving more than 77,000 farmers, ranchers and other rural borrowers in 23 states around the country. CoBank is a member of the Farm Credit System, a nationwide network of banks and retail lending associations chartered to support the borrowing needs of U.S. agriculture, rural infrastructure and rural communities. Headquartered outside Denver, Colorado, CoBank serves customers from regional banking centers across the U.S. and also maintains an international representative office in Singapore.

Media Contacts

Julie Davis
Corporate Communications

Sherry Johnson
Corporate Social Responsibility

Dave Harding
Knowledge Exchange