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Côte d’Ivoire banks on new power plant to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

which is symbolic of private sector mobilization for climate and green growth, is the first private sector-funded climate action operation in West Africa.

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Three years after construction began, the Singrobo-Ahouaty hydropower plant project, located some 150 km north of Abidjan, achieved a completion rate of 78.93% as of end-March 2023.

This project, which is symbolic of private sector mobilization for climate and green growth, is the first private sector-funded climate action operation in West Africa.

Financing for the project comprises €90.7 million in loans and €43.6 million in equity. The African Development Bank Group is co-financing the project with €40 million, in loan, out of a total cost of €174.3 million.

Other financiers are Africa Finance Corporation; Neo Themis, a private equity firm based in Casablanca, Morocco; IHE Holdings, an Ivorian investment company; DEG – Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft, a German development agency for the private sector; and the Emerging Africa Infrastructures Fund.

Work is progressing steadily at the plant, with the last structures being installed. These include the cofferdams and the sluice gates for closing the dam. Installation of the power turbines and alternators will begin within a few weeks. Other significant works currently in progress are the construction of the spillway and the tailrace, including digging one million cubic meters into the rock and pouring 85,000 cubic meters of concrete.

“All civil engineering and hydro-mechanical works are in the final stages, and only the electro-mechanical phase remains outstanding. At the end of this stage, we will have the commissioning process, the start-up tests, and ultimately power generation,” Christophe Blairon, CEO of IHE, the Ivorian investment company and project implementing partner, said on 29 March 2023, during a visit by the local state authority of the project area.

According to Mr. Blairon, the major steps remaining entail diverting the right arm of the riverbank to the left arm. There are plans to fill the reservoir in early August 2023 and the plant will be commissioned in the first quarter of 2024.

The facility could supply electricity to 100,000 households and reduce Côte d’Ivoire’s CO2 emissions by 109,000 tons annually. The project will create 500 jobs during the construction phase, including 150 skilled jobs and 28 jobs during the operational phase.

It provides for the construction of a 4-kilometer access road connecting the dam site to the village of Ahouaty, thus reducing travel time for the inhabitants. Other benefits will include the building and rehabilitation of health centers, the supply of drinking water to two nearby villages and the construction of a market and a sports/cultural center.

The plant will diversify Côte d’Ivoire’s energy mix to achieve the government’s goal of generating 42% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The 1,400-metre-long dam will consist mainly of a rockfill dike and will link the villages of Singrobo and Ahouaty. “The Singrobo-Ahouaty plant will tap into Côte d’Ivoire’s enormous potential to provide clean energy from hydropower,” Wale Shonibare, Director for Financial Solutions, Energy and Regulations at the African Development Bank, said during the visit.

The 2023 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group, which will take place from 23 to 27 May in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh, will focus on mobilizing private financing for climate and green growth.

This will be the 58th Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank and the 49th meeting of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the Bank Group.

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