ADF Approves $303m for Electricity Projects in Mauritania and Mali

30 Jan 2024
ADF Approves $303m for Electricity Projects in Mauritania and Mali

Last month, the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF)—the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s concessional financing window—approved a $302.9 million loan for electricity projects across Mauritania and Mali. 

The Mauritania-Mali 225kV electricity interconnection and solar power plant development project is part of the Desert to Power Initiative and comprises; a high-voltage electrical interconnection of over 1,373 kilometres to enable a 600MW transfer capacity between the two countries; a 50 MW solar power plant in Kiffa, Mauritania, linked to the interconnection; and the connection of 100,000 new households — 80,000 in Mauritania and 20,000 in Mali — to the power grid in the areas covered by the network. 

The bank speaking on the project noted that it “represents a strategic investment to support rapid renewable energy production and guarantee universal access to electricity in the two Sahel countries.” Malinne Blomberg, AfDB’s Deputy Director General for North Africa and head of AfDB’s Mauritania Country Office commended the Malian and Mauritanian governments for supporting the Bank in the project’s preparation. Adalbert Nshimyumuremyi, head of the Mali Country Office noted that the project will benefit about 500,000 people including 20,000 households in the 50 areas that will be connected to the grid.

Of the approved sum, Mauritania will receive $269.6 million to be paid back over 30 years at a 1% interest rate. Mali will receive $33.3 million at a 50-year tenor and no interest. The AfDB expects other partners including the Green Climate Fund, the West African Development Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Union to contribute to the total project costs of $888 million via a blend of grants and loans.  The Mauritania government will contribute about $7.3 million in counterpart funding and the Société de Gestion de l'Energie de Manantali (SOGEM) will contribute about $12.04 million. 
Three different companies will implement the project across both countries. SOGEM will construct the 225 kV power transmission network on both sides of the border from the Kayes substation in Mali to the Kiffa substation in Mauritania. 

The Mauritanian Electricity Company (SOMELEC) will construct other transmission infrastructure on Mauritanian territory, excluding part of the power line entrusted to SOGEM, the 50MW Kiffa solar power plant, and the medium and low voltage distribution networks in Mauritanian communities crossed by the 225 kV line. 
Energie du Mali (EDM-SA) will construct the high and low-voltage distribution network infrastructure in communities crossed by the 225 kV line in Mali. 

The Desert to Power Initiative aims to exploit the solar power potential of 11 Sahel countries — Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan. 

This project is the first section of the trans-Sahel spine that aims to link Mauritania to Chad via Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. The interconnection will also support the development and integration of new solar power plants.

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