Africa

Ghana: China expected to finance 400-MW Bui

Ghana officials said June 19 that China is likely to finance construction of 400-MW Bui Dam, a US$600 million hydroelectric project on the Black Volta River that could boost the West African country’s gold and iron ore industries.

Officials remarked during a visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, who made a seven-nation tour of Africa, where China is investing heavily in resource-rich nations as it seeks access to minerals and crude oil. In Ghana, Wen met with President John Kufuor.

“The President presented the Bui Dam project to the Chinese as one of his priority projects and we’re confident it will get funding,” Yaw Afari-Donkor, Ghana’s ambassador to Beijing, said. “The initial estimated cost is US$600 million but we’re now fleshing out detailed costing and a financing plan.”

Afari-Donkor said he expected a deal to be signed when Kufuor visits Beijing in November. A joint communique issued as Wen left Ghana for Congo Republic said China was ready to continue discussions to find a “win-win solution” for the project but it gave no further details.

Ghana’s electricity is generated largely from the 912-MW Akosombo and 160-MW Kpong projects on the Volta River in the southeast, plus a 550-MW thermal plant at Aboadze in the west.

“The Bui Dam will make a big economic impact for mining iron ore and gold in the north of the country, and it will improve power supply for everybody,” finance minister Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said.