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AfDB Approves € 25 Million for Addax Bioenergy Project in Sierra Leone


Tunis, 8 April 2011 - The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved on Friday, a € 25-million senior private sector loan to finance Addax Bioenergy Sierra Leone (ABSL) project. The project consists of:

  • The development of a Greenfield sugarcane plantation of approximately 10,000 hectares;
  • The construction of an integrated bio-energy facility including the sugarcane crushing facility and ethanol distillery; and a 32-Mega-Watt biomass co-generation power plant.

The project will generate roughly 960,000 tons of sugarcane per year that will be used to produce 83,000 cubic meters (83 million liters) of anhydrous ethanol for export and possibly domestic consumption; and 165 Giga-Watt hour (GWh) of electricity of which roughly 100 GWh will be delivered to the domestic market.

ABSL recognizes that environmental and social sustainability will be a key success factor for the project and has invested considerable time and energy to ensure compliance with AfDB environmental and social safeguards policies, the International Finance Corporation, performance standards, the EU bio-energy environmental and social sustainability standards and those of the Roundtable for Sustainable Biofuels.

An important component of the project is the Farmer Development Program  and Farmer Training Program that will be implemented with support from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, to boost food security and improve livelihoods in the project area.

The Addax Bioenergy project will significantly help to enhance socio-economic conditions of communities within the project area. Positive social benefits include: creation of employment opportunities; rise in household incomes; stimulation of local economic growth, including opportunities for microenterprises and small businesses; generation of much-needed electricity; reduction of carbon emissions; increased agricultural productivity and food production in the project area; enhanced access to markets and social services for the local population; and skills training.

In addition, the project will result in several positive environmental benefits. These environmental benefits include the creation of ecological corridors and buffer zones for conservation purposes, and a decline in greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 200,000 tons per year.

The ABSL project represents the largest private sector investment in Sierra Leone’s agriculture sector to date, and would provide a tangible example of successful investment in the country. It will broaden electricity supply throughout the country, enhance productivity in agriculture and improve the country’s standing as an investment destination.

Beyond Sierra Leone, the project would be the first large-scale sugarcane ethanol project in Africa and should catalyze further sustainable investment in the sector, and agribusiness in general, in other African countries. Together with partner development financiers, the Bank has and will continue to play a prominent role in ensuring that the project adheres to international good practices on environmental and social protection, with respect to food security.

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