China Exim provides funding for Guinea’s 450-MW Souapiti project

The Export-Import Bank of China has approved a US$1.3 billion financing package for Guinea’s Souapiti hydropower plant, capping what the African country’s government calls two years of “intense” negotiations.

China Exim had originally agreed to fund the project more than a decade ago, though a period of political unrest in Guinea caused the state-owned lender to pull out.

A lack of funding did not prohibit the China International Water & Electric Corp. (CWE) from breaking ground on the project in December 2015, following updates to a feasibility study by the West African Power Pool.

Souapiti will be located on the Konkoure River near Conkary and will nearly double Guinea’s power supply once complete. However, much electricity generated at the plant will be sold to neighboring countries via a partnership consisting of Guinea and CWE, with profits used to repay the loan.

The government said last week it expects the financing agreement with China Exim to close “very soon”. Construction is expected to extend through 2020.

Guinea is estimated as having one of the larger hydroelectric power potentials in West Africa, with a capacity of around 6,000 MW yet to be developed. Only about a quarter of Guinea’s population has access to power.

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