(Business in Cameroon) - On June 16, 2020, the World Bank’s board of directors approved a US$385 million concessional loan agreement for the implementation of the Cameroon-Chad Power Interconnection Project. According to an information note from Cameroon's Ministry of Water and Energy (Minee), with this approval, the financing stage for this project is completed.
Indeed, on April 3, 2020, the Cameroonian government had signed a US$244.4 million (about CFAF150 billion) financing agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the same project. For this same infrastructure, Cameroon also signed a €30 million (CFAF19.65 billion) funding agreement with the European Union (EU) on February 21, 2019.
In its information note, the Minee does not mention the EU’s financing, which is a donation from the 11th European Development Fund, or the beneficiary countries’ financial counterpart.
The Cameroon-Chad Power Interconnection Project includes the construction of a 1,560 km power transmission line between the two countries. According to information from the Minee, the financing provided by the World Bank will enable the implementation of the national component of the project, known as RIS-RIN. This component involves the construction of a 225 KV transmission line between the Nachtigal dam (420 MW) in the Central Region of Cameroon and Ngaoundéré, the regional capital of Adamaoua. The 560-km transmission line will pass through the towns of Ntui, Yoko and Tibati.
This line will link the Southern Interconnected Network (RIS), which has a large hydroelectric generating capacity, with the Northern Interconnected Network (RIN), which is experiencing a production deficit and a low electricity access rate.
This component of the project is full of opportunities for Cameroon's three northern regions, which will be crossed by a modern power transmission line. According to government projections, 100,000 new connections could be made in this part of Cameroon, as part of a vast parallel rural electrification project targeting more than 500 localities in northern Cameroon.
The regional component of the project aims to interconnect Cameroon's electricity network with that of Chad through the construction of a transmission line from Ngaoundéré to Ndjamena, the Chadian capital, along a 1,000 km line.
The project "will provide Central Africa with its first transmission backbone. As such, its significance will span beyond Cameroon and Chad, providing lessons and incentives to other countries that may well benefit from power trade, and eventually driving a stronger consensus towards regional power system integration," the World Bank said in an official release.
Cameroonian authorities for their part inform that as the financing stage has been completed, the next stage is to set up steering committee and the project management unit, housed at Sonatrel, the Cameroonian public company in charge of electricity transmission. This should be done in the coming months so that the various calls for tenders could be issued by the end of the current year.
Brice R. Mbodiam