Benin, AfDB Sign FCFA 12 Billion Loan Agreement to Finance Power Connection Project

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Tunis, 3 June 2008 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and the Republic of Benin have signed an agreement for a loan of 17.39 million Units of Account (UA), equivalent to US$ 28.2 million (FCFA 11.9 billion) to finance the country’s segment of a power connection line with neighbouring Togo and Ghana.

The agreement was signed on Monday in Tunis by the Bank Group’s Vice-President in charge of Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integrations, Mandla Gantsho, and Benin’s Ambassador to Morocco, Bio Torou Guiwa.

The project, which forms part of the West African Power pool program, involves the construction of a 338 kV transmission line from Sakete in Benin via Togo to the Volta sub-station near Tema in Ghana. It also includes the extension of existing sub-stations at Sakete and Volta-Tema as well as the construction of a new substation at Mome-Hagou in Togo.

The objective of the project is to increase transmission capacity between Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana for electricity trading in view of improving reliability of supply and reducing transaction costs.

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Gantsho reiterated the critical importance of the West African Power Pool Program for a unified electricity market in the ECOWAS region by establishing interconnections in-between the electricity grids of its member countries.

"Interconnections such as the Ghana-Togo-Benin transmission line will allow for the movement of power from countries with the potential to produce cheap hydropower to other countries which currently depend on thermal power stations running on expensive imported petroleum for their electricity supply.

"The interconnections will also enable utilities in the region optimally manage the use of scarce hydro resources during draught periods through power exchange, Mr. Gantsho said, adding that the programme is essential for the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.

The total cost of the power line connection project is estimated at UA 71.34 million, equivalent to US$ 115.6 million.

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