The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) and French green IPP, Akuo Energy, have confirmed financing for the 50MW Akuo Kita Solar power plant, in southern Mali.
The €78 million ($96 million) project will include a transmission line that will feed directly into the electricity grid. The pair claims that this project will be the largest solar farm yet built in West Africa.
Akuo Kita Solar will sell its power to national utility, Electricité du Mali SA, under a 28-year power purchase agreement.
EAIF, the Mandated Lead Arranger on the Akuo Kita Solar project financing, has arranged the senior debt facility for a total of €54 million ($67 million) over 15 years.
The company is a part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) together with GuarantCo and Green Africa Power (GAP) who also contributed to the project financing.
EAIF’s share of the debt package is €17 million ($21 million). The transaction was co-arranged with the Banque Ouest Africaine de Développement.
GAP is providing a mezzanine facility of €8 million ($10 million) over 20 years and GuarantCo a Debt Service Reserve Account guarantee.
Akuo Kita Solar power plant harnessing sunshine
EAIF executive director, Emilio Cattaneo, stated that Mali has realised that its abundance of sunshine makes solar power a critical asset in accelerating the country’s rate of electrification.
“Mali’s population is expected to double from 18 million to around 36 million people by 2035. It is estimated that fewer than 5 million people have access to electricity. As the population grows and becomes more urban, lifting the rate of electrification will be essential to social cohesion, stimulating economic activity, alleviating poverty and helping secure political stability.
“Solar generation facilities have the ability to be built quickly and in numerous locations. Akuo Kita Solar has seen the potential and I hope many other developers follow its lead,” said Cattaneo.
GuarantCo chief executive Lasitha Perera noted: “Akuo Kita Solar is the second power project in Mali to benefit from a DSRA guarantee from GuarantCo this year and demonstrates the critical role that credit enhancement can play in improving the viability of essential infrastructure.”
Featured image: Stock