Gabon Hydropower Project Secures €122M Funding from Multilateral Financiers

18 Dec 2023
Gabon Hydropower Project Secures €122M Funding from Multilateral Financiers

Asonha Énergie SA last month received the first tranche of 81 billion FCFA (about €122 million) in multilateral financing for developing the 35MW Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric dam in Gabon.

The project is currently being constructed on the Mbei River about 90 km east of Libreville, next to the Monts de Cristal in the Estuaire region of the country.

Asonha Énergie in a statement last month announced that the “first drawing was granted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF).”

Philippe Ossoucah, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Asonha Énergie, stated about the funding; “this important milestone for the Kinguele Aval project demonstrates the capacity of the Gabonese government and its partners to mobilize private capital and non-sovereign financing for the realization of structuring projects in the energy sector in Gabon, meeting the highest standards environmental and social.” While Sylvain Bouyé, the company’s general manager, added that; “obtaining this first drawing from international lenders reflects the confidence of these financial institutions in our project and our ability to positively and sustainably change the daily lives of thousands of Gabonese people.”

Asonha Énergie is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up under a public-private partnership (PPP). It is majority-owned (60%) by Meridiam SAS through its Africa-focused investment vehicles. The Gabon Power Company, an energy portfolio company wholly owned by Gabon’s sovereign wealth fund is the minority shareholder (40%).

THE ROLE OF BLENDED FINANCING IN DE-RISKING PROJECTS

The total cost of the project is estimated at €178 million, with €131 million being financed from debt and €44 million in equity from the two shareholders of Asonha Énergie.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is the lead lender with the debt tranche funded by a combination of senior and concessional loans from Development Finance Institutions. IFC’s investment is composed of a senior loan of up to €33 million; and a senior concessional loan of up to €23 million from the IFC-managed Canada-IFC Renewable Energy Program for Africa.

IFC also mobilized an additional €98 million in financing through the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). 

The AfDB is providing senior debt of up to €20 million and will help mobilise additional funding from funds it manages including €10 million from the Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF) and €9 million concessional funding from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).

In addition, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), is expected to provide guarantees for Meridiam, while the IFC will also provide interest rate and cross-currency swaps.

MEETING LIBREVILLE'S ENERGY NEEDS

The project involves the construction of a  mixed gravity embankment dam approximately 48m high, the installation of 3 turbines, and a 225kV substation to transmit the power generated via the existing line to Libreville. Sinohydro is the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project. The Chinese company is being assisted by a French consortium of Artelia and Électricité de France (EDF).

The construction of the hydroelectric dam is expected to be completed in 40 months with the power generated sold to the national utility Société d’énergie et d’eau du Gabon (SEEG), under a 30-year take-or-pay power purchase agreement.

Asonha Énergie states that when completed, the hydroelectric plant will supply 205GWh to the grid, meeting about 13% of the energy needs of Libreville while saving over 150,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions annually.

Image Source: Asonha Energie

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