Ivorian power producer to invest $344 million, boosts capacity

ABIDJAN Fri Jan 24, 2014 11:50am EST

ABIDJAN Jan 24 (Reuters) - Ivorian electricity producer CIPREL, a subsidiary of Emerging Capital Partners, plans to invest 165 billion CFA francs ($344.12 million) in two years to raise output by 111 megawatts after announcing on Friday a 34 percent increase in capacity.

CIPREL's managing director Kouassi N'Guessan said the firm has boosted its production capacity to 432 megawatts from 321 and plans to increase it to 543 megawatts by the last quarter of 2015 with a steam turbine.

"This project will contribute in securing power supply in Ivory Coast, boost growth and strengthen the country's role as a regional power supplier," N'Guessan said during a ceremony at the company's site in Abidjan.

N'guessan said CIPREL will contribute 35 billion CFA to fund to the project. The World Bank's investment wing International Finance Corporation will invest 100 million euros ($136.80 million), the African Development Bank 50 million euros and French development finance institution Proparco also 50 million.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa producer and Francophone Africa region's economic powerhouse is a regional power exporter, supplying Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali. It plans to interconnect with Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Its total electricity capacity is around 1,600 megawatts and the government aims to push it to 4,000 megawatts by 2020 but exports to its neighbours have been declining in recent years as domestic demand has outpaced new power generation.

The country is recovering from decade-long political strife that culminated in a violent post-election standoff in 2010 and brief civil war in 2011 that crippled its economy.

The government is investing in various infrastructure projects and plans to make Ivory Coast a regional electricity hub, Prime Minister Daniel Duncan Kablan said at the ceremony.

"Within two years, we should be able to supply electricity to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone," Kablan said. ($1 = 479.4830 CFA francs) ($1 = 0.7310 euros) (Reporting By Loucoumane Coulibaly; Writing by Bate Felix, editing by David Evans)

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