The International Finance Corporation (IFC), Globeleq Africa, and Industrial Promotion Services (IPS) West Africa, have committed financing totalling €264 million ($294 million) for the expansion of the Azito thermal power plant (Azito Phase 4) in Côte d’Ivoire.
The plant’s expansion will help increase the supply of reliable, affordable power in the country, where, as of 2017, less than 66% of the population had access to electricity.
“We are very pleased to see Azito Phase 4 reach this important milestone. This project will allow Côte d’Ivoire to meet growing demand while reducing sector costs and emissions and enable the country to integrate more renewables going forward while consolidating it as a regional energy hub,” said Linda Rudo Munyengeterwa, IFC’s regional industry director for infrastructure and natural resources, Middle East and Africa.
Azito Phase 4 will add to the existing plant new gas and steam turbines (for an additional 253MW), allowing Azito to generate an additional 2,000GWh per annum – or over 30% of the country’s electricity for the whole plant.
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Power produced by Azito Phase 4 will displace less efficient and older thermal units in the market, substantially reducing costs and emissions, and contribute to meeting growing domestic and regional demand for electricity.
Luc Ayé, Azito Energie’s CEO, said: “This expansion which represents a significant part of the country’s national electricity plan, is supported by the government, who envisions Côte d’Ivoire as an energy hub for West Africa.”
Azito Phase 4 will help the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire meet its national target of 42% renewables by 2030 by supporting grid stability and helping integrate intermittent renewables to complement the country’s hydropower base (900MW, or about 40% of total installed capacity).
Côte d’Ivoire’s potential for renewable energy is highlighted in a recent IFC report.
IFC, as lead arranger and global coordinator, arranged the full debt financing package of €264 million, provided by the African Development Bank; the West African Development Bank; OPEC Fund for International Development; a pool of European Development Finance Institutions, including PROPARCO, the Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries, the German Investment Corporation; and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund – an Africa-focused debt fund managed by Investec Asset Management and the Netherlands Development Finance Company.
Along with mobilising the debt, IFC is providing, as part of the debt package, a €46 million loan to Azito from its own account, as well as interest rate swaps for the Euro-denominated debt.
The new round of financing builds on the success of the Azito thermal power plant, which has been providing low-cost and baseload power, while efficiently using Côte d’Ivoire’s natural gas endowment since 2000.
Paul Hanrahan, Globeleq’s CEO, said: “As a long-term supplier of reliable and environmentally sustainable power to the people of Côte d’Ivoire, we and our shareholders, CDC and Norfund, are delighted to expand our role in the country’s growth and development.”
Also commenting on the development, Mahamadou Sylla, IPS (WA)’s CEO, said: “This fourth expansion of the Azito plant builds on the long-term relationship between IPS (WA), the government of Côte d’Ivoire and the DFIs community which combined support amounts to over $750 million.”