Benin, Nigeria, Togo to share hydro on new grid link

Benin, Togo, and Nigeria inaugurated a transmission line February 13, linking the three countries’ national grids and aimed at improving insufficient electricity infrastructure in West Africa.

The 70-kilometer cable will join Communaute d’Electricite du Benin (CEB), which groups Benin and neighboring Togo, with regional economic powerhouse Nigeria. It will have an initial capacity of 80 MW, which is due to be extended in the coming months.

A shortfall in electricity capacity and distribution infrastructure is one of the main limitations on sub-Saharan Africa’s economic development.

“This is an example of regional development where states unite to tackle the problems of underdevelopment, especially in the context of globalization,” Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the inauguration ceremony, also attended by the leaders of Ghana, Benin, and Togo.

About 80 percent of the electricity consumed in Benin is imported, with the majority of this coming from Ghana’s 1,062-MW Akosombo hydroelectric dam. Ghana’s president announced February 8 that a �high-powered� delegation from Ghana is in China to sign a financing agreement for construction of 400-MW Bui Dam on Ghana’s Black Volta River. (HNN 2/12/07)

Ghana and Benin last year recruited contractors to carry out upgrade work at Akosombo and 160-MW Kpong in Ghana and at the 65-MW Nangbeto hydro project in Benin in support of the West Africa Power Pool. (HNN 7/7/06) That World Bank-funded work included engineering and logistics support for West Africa’s Coastal Transmission Backbone.

In 2005, Hong Kong based Oriental Asset and Capital Management said it would provide US$360 million to finance the 104.8-MW Adjarala hydroelectric project between Togo and Benin on Mono River and to improve electricity generation and transmission infrastructure. (HNN 12/29/05)

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation with more than 140 million people, suffers from a shortfall in its own electricity capacity. Its generation fell by half in January due to gas shortages at key thermal plants after a spate of vandalism and technical faults.

Nigeria has been preparing the 600-MW Shiroro hydroelectric project on the Kaduna River for privatization to advance the plant’s overhaul and modernization. (HNN 12/1/06)

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