The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) is lending €25 million (US$29.6 million) over 18 years to Ivoire Hydro Energy (IHE), which will build the 44-MW Singrobo hydroelectric generation plant on the Bandama River in Cà´te d’Ivoire.
EAIF is a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company. Financial close is expected late in the third quarter of 2021. The €174 million (US$205.7 million) project is forecast to take 36 months to build.
“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,” said Paromita Chatterjee, an Investment Director at EAIF’s managers, Ninety One.
Under a long-term power purchase agreement, all of the energy produced by the Singrobo plant will be sold to Compagnie Ivoirienne d’Electricité, operator of Cà´te d’Ivoire’s national grid. The new plant will be an important strategic economic asset, adding to the country’s generation capacity, and enhancing 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). A quarter 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 finalizing the project’s development and the financing agreements.
Electrification rates in Cà´te d’Ivoire range from about 88% in urban areas to as low as 31% in rural parts of the country.
The project site is located 23 km downstream of the existing Taabo Dam and upstream of the confluence of the Nzi River. It is 3.5 km from Singrobo village in the province of Taabo and 148 km by road from Cà´te d’Ivoire’s capital city, Abidjan. The main plant infrastructure consists of:
- A rockfill dam on the right bank of about 27 m height and 1,025 m length
- A concrete dam on the left bank about 27 m high and 150 m long
- A central spillway, water intake structure and bottom outlet
- A reservoir with an area of maximum 19.6 km2 and a volume of about 105 hm3
- Two penstocks with a diameter of 5 m
- A powerhouse with two horizontal 22-MW Kaplan turbines supplied by GE/Alstom
- A 1.3-km-long and 35-m-wide tailrace channel
- 3 km of access roads
- Camp site facilities comprising construction facilities and a permanent O&M camp site
- A 4-km-long, 90-kV transmission line and substation to connect to the existing Taabo-Agboville transmission line
EAIF provides a variety of debt products to infrastructure projects promoted mainly by private sector businesses in Africa and parts of the Levant. It has to date supported over 80 completed infrastructure projects across nine sectors in over 20 African countries.
PIDG is an infrastructure project developer and investor that mobilizes private investment in sustainable and inclusive infrastructure in sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia. Since 2002, PIDG has supported 171 infrastructure projects to financial close, which provided an estimated 217 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure.
Ninety One is a third-party investor in private equity, credit, public equity and sovereign debt across the African continent. EAIF is managed by and fully integrated into Ninety One’s African investment platform. Since May 2016, Ninety One and its EAIF team have closed over 20 infrastructure transactions with a capital value of US$650 million.