(Business in Cameroon) - The Cameroonian government has awarded the contract for building five new mini-hydroelectric power stations in the country. In a letter sent on September 29 to the Director-General of the Rural Electrification Agency (AER), the Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic confirmed that HIG Group had won the bid.
“I am hereby notifying you of the Presidency's approval, instructing you to sign a protocol agreement with the HIG Group for the feasibility studies for the construction of the five small hydroelectric power stations in the localities of Banyo, Akom II, Ngambe Tikar, Yingui, and Messok, located respectively in the regions of Adamaoua, South, Center, Littoral, and East. The deal should be signed in an Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Finance (EPC-F) model," reads the letter, without further details on the HIG company.
These new projects are part of the ongoing implementation of the program to construct 50 mini-hydroelectric power stations in the country, as announced by the Minister of Water and Energy, Gaston Eloundou Essomba, on April 14, 2022, during the inauguration of the Mbakaou mini-power station (1.4 MW expandable to 2.8 MW) in the Adamaoua region; the first infrastructure of its kind in the country.
BGFI Bank’s support
With a total investment of CFA4.5 billion made by the independent electricity producer IED Invest Cameroon, this infrastructure received support from the European Union, which contributed CFA1.64 billion to its financing. The local subsidiary of the Gabonese banking group BGFI Bank also provided CFA1.5 billion and intends to become more involved in financing such projects in Cameroon.
"We want to build the other 49 stations to address the electricity supply issue," said the DG of BGFI Bank Cameroon in an interview with Business in Cameroon. "We believe that local banks have a role to play in this venture," Abakal Mahamat added.
In addition to increasing the share of hydroelectric power in the country's energy mix and making savings thanks to a decline in expenses on fuels used to operate thermal power stations, the mini-hydroelectric power station project is eco-friendly. For example, "based on expert calculations, the small hydroelectric power station in Mbakaou carrière will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by at least 67,000 tons by 2030, thanks to the shutdown of the thermal power stations in Tibati and Mbakaou," said Minister Eloundou Essomba on April 14, 2022, in Mbakaou. This corresponds to an average annual reduction of CO2 emissions of over 7,444 tons. The electricity producer and distributor Eneo, which purchases the production of this facility, estimates the reduction to be 4,893 tons of CO2 each year.