Ivory Coast will start building a gas-fired power station near its commercial capital Abidjan later this year with work on a second plant due to start by 2017 at the latest, a government official said recently. The world’s top cocoa grower has emerged from a decade-long of crisis as one of the continent’s rising economic stars, but rapid growth has also placed a strain on the West African country’s power sector.
With demand for electricity increasing by about 10% annually, the government is pushing for investment in power production to double output to 4,000 megawatts (MW) by 2020. The new Songon power station to be built near Abidjan and a plant in Grand Bassam about 40 km (25 miles) away will each produce about 370 MW.
The Grand Bassam project is less advanced but construction will begin either this year or next, he said, adding that both projects were being financed by private investors in partnership with the state. Unlike many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Ivory Coast has a reliable power supply and exports electricity to Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Mali, Togo, and parts of Liberia.
Work on a 300 billion CFA franc ($508 million) project to connect power lines to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone will also start this year with financing from the African Development Bank, the World Bank, and European investors.