The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company, is lending €25 million to Ivoire Hydro Energy (IHE), to build a 44MW hydro electricity generation plant on the Bandama River near the village of Singrobo in Côte d’Ivoire. Financial close is expected in late Q3 2021. The €174 million project is forecast to take some 36 months to build.
Paromita Chatterjee, an Investment Director at EAIF’s managers, Ninety One, said: “The new facility being built at Singrobo is the country’s first hydroelectric development by an independent power producer. The project has seen EAIF and PIDG deliver on three core objectives; mobilising private capital, enabling economic development and contributing to increasing Africa’s stock of renewable energy infrastructure.”
A long-term power purchase agreement will see all of the energy produced by the Singrobo plant sold to Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité, the operator of Côte d’Ivoire’s national grid. The new plant will be an important strategic economic asset for Côte d’Ivoire. In addition to adding to the country’s generation capacity, the plant enhances the system’s flexibility, meaning it may be called in to meet baseload demand as well as peak demand.
The African Development Bank (AfDB), acted as the mandated lead arranger of the debt finance and will be a senior lender in its own right. In addition to AfDB and EAIF, the other lenders are the German international development agency, DEG and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC). 25% of the project cost is funded by equity from the project’s shareholders, IHE Holding, the Africa Finance Corporation and DIPFA, a Denham Capital owned international investment platform for power projects. Neo Themis SARL is advising and acting for the shareholders in relation to finalising the project’s development and the financing agreements.
Electrification rates in Côte d’Ivoire range from c88% in urban areas to as low as 31% in rural parts of the country. Côte d’Ivoire’s economy has been growing and diversifying since the return of political stability in 2011. It has the largest and most diversified economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union, representing c30% of the monetary union’s total GDP.