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Sunday, October 1, 2023

New 110m euro Mali hydro-electric project to dam Niger River

Hydro-electric power is one renewable energy source that is in abundant supply in Africa

The Eranove Group, a major pan-African player in the electricity and water sectors, on Thursday June 18, 2015 in Bamako signed a 30-year concession agreement with the government of the Republic of Mali through its subsidiary Kenié Energie Renouvelable. Under the agreement, which is effective from the date of signing, the Group will finance, develop, build and operate the Kenié hydro-electric dam located in Baguinéda on the Niger River, 35 km east of Bamako. The signing ceremony took place in the presence of the Minister of Economy and Finance, Mamadou Diarra, the Minister of Energy and Water, Mamadou Frankaly Keïta, and the Minister of Investment Promotion and Private Sector, Mamadou Gaoussou Diarra.

Done deal: Officials of Eranove Group and Mali Government sign agreement
Done deal: Officials of Eranove Group and Mali Government sign agreement

According to the parties, the agreement represents an important step forward for the Eranove Group. The Group’s managing duo of Vincent Le Guennou, Co-CEO of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Eranove Group, and Marc Albérola, CEO of the Eranove Group, made the trip to Bamako in Mali, specifically to get the project up and running.

The signing of the concession agreement is likewise an important move for the Republic of Mali. According to World Bank estimates, the country’s current installed power capacity of approximately 414 MW covers only half of potential demand. The Kenié hydro-electric facility, with its installed capacity of 42 MW, will help Mali respond to this energy challenge. Initial simulations suggest that the Kenié dam could produce around 175 GWh, which is equivalent to the average annual consumption of 175,000 households. What is more, the structure will enable Mali to make better use of its hydro-electric potential and thus reduce its dependence on imported hydrocarbons.

With an estimated potential of 400,000 MW “hydro-electric power is one renewable energy source that is in abundant supply in Africa. As part of the regional integration of power transmission networks, hydro-electricity can play a key role in increasing power generation capacity. And we mustn’t forget micro and pico hydro-electricity either. These small hydro-electric facilities can supply power to villages or groups of villages in remote areas far away from interconnected transmission systems. Hydro-electricity is a renewable and competitive source of power in terms of production costs, and could even play a role in the financial balancing of power sectors and in meeting demand. This would prove hugely beneficial both for local populations and for regional industrial development,” assesses Marc Albérola, CEO of the Eranove Group.

The signing of the concession agreement comes after several years of cooperation between the Republic of Mali’s Ministry of Energy and Water and IFC InfraVentures. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries. Working together, these institutions conducted preliminary feasibility studies followed by an international call for tenders, which resulted in the selection of the Eranove Group as a strategic partner. The agreement of 18 June 2015 is a significant milestone in the implementation of the project, as the financing of the project – estimated at EUR 110 million – can now get under way. According to the current project schedule, construction is due to begin in 2016 and the dam would be put into operation in 2020. The dam will then be operated under a concession agreement by Kenié Energie Renouvelable, a new subsidiary of the Eranove Group, whose shareholders will also include IFC InfraVentures.

Supported by Emerging Capital Partners (ECP), a pan-African leader in private equity investment that has raised over USD 2.5 billion in assets for the continent, the Eranove Group is embarking on a new stage in its pan-African development.

In addition to its operations in Mali, the Eranove Group already has a historic presence in Senegal, through water distribution company SDE, and in Côte d’Ivoire, via electricity companies CIE and CIPREL, water distribution company SODECI and AWALE.

Operating over 1,100 MW of power generation facilities in Côte d’Ivoire, the Eranove Group currently accounts for nearly 70% of the country’s installed capacity and invests in a number of projects. CIE mainly operates six hydro-electric dams generating 604 MW of power with high availability rates.

The Eranove Group has fronted and coordinated one of the biggest infrastructure investments in Côte d’Ivoire in recent years, in the form of the CIPREL power plant (EUR 343 million). After an initial phase, which began in January 2014 (a 110 MW gas turbine), the second phase (a 110 MW steam turbine) will be completed in late 2015, creating a combined-cycle plant.


  1. Paddy Ezeala, Environment and Development Communications Consultant:
    All said and done, the Niger Basin Authority has to be at the center of it all. The extent of impact of big or small dams has to be scientifically established before anything; both on a wider scale and as it pertains to the livelihoods of support communities.

    While the NBA provides the refenceable backbone, the larger environmental community provides the necessary backstopping. All these are imperative as economic and developmental exigencies and/or expediencies would continue to exert pressure on natural resources.

  2. Prof Olukayode Oladipo of the University of Lagos: Phillip,

    You are absolutely right for the need to discuss these issues based on science and facts.

    The failure of Nigeria to put a dam on the Benue after nearly 30 years of feasibility survey and the horror of the CO2 induced explosion of Lake (?) in the Cameroons led to the massive flooding of the Benue sector of the 2012 flooding. If we have had a dam that could generate up to 3000MW on the river in Adamawa/Taraba state, that dam would have been able to contain some of the massive flood water that rushed form the release of dam water from the Cameroons and also supply enough power to most of the states in the northeast.

    Large dams for hydroelectricity generation are different from large dams for irrigation.

    Our major challenge in Nigeria is that we throw statements widely with little or no in-depth scientific analysis and facts. It is time to start doing so.

  3. Prince Lekan Fadina of CISME: We read in the Newsletter that it was stated that “working together,the institutions involved in the project conducted prelimenary feasibility studies followed by an international call for tenders”.
    +We hope these studies included Environmental Impact Assessment of the area and the neighbouring surrounding environment including Nigeria since such a massive project will have its impact on these areas.lt will be useful to know what the Report said on the socal,environmental and economic implications of the project.
    +We are aware that a number of projects that can have effects on neighbouring countries are going on in the sub-region.ln some cases they do not comply with the ECOWAS Environment Policy.This was one of the reasons for the recent International Environmental Impact Assessment Summit organised by the Nigeria House of Representatives and ECOWAS.
    The President of ECOWAS at the Summit said “I am optimistic that your participation and contribution at this Summit will lead to reviewing,enactingand instituting good governance of EIAin the member States in line with the provisions of articles 11 and 12 of the Supplementary Act related to the ECOWAS environmental policy which state that Member states pledge to systematically carry out or cause to carry out environmental studies and assessments for any investment or any action with an impact on the environment(Article11) and ECOWAS shall see to the hamonisation of rgulatory texts relating to the environmental management “.
    +We are aware of the emerging global and local environmental threats that require improved legislations.
    +We are also aware that discussions are going on the ECOWAS Commission in an effort to”expedite action and play active role to co-ordinate the development of draft common ECOWAS EIA Guidelines and promote their implementation..”
    It is our view that a lot still need to be done to address some of the issues raised in the comments as reaction to the subject matter of the newsletter and the emerging environmental and sustainable development challenges.
    +We commend this platform because it provides opportunity for cross fertilisation of ideas.
    +We hope the present 8th Assembly will continue from wherebthe 7th Assembly stopped and work with the ECOWAS Commission in coming up with appropriate laws to address the type of issues we envisage may arise from trans -national projects the like of this Mali case.
    Prince Lekan Fadina

  4. Prof Francis Adesina of the Obafemi Awolowo University:
    The two last comments are complimentary and very enlightening. Multiple damming of the Niger should not be a problem depending of course on the size of the dams upstream. If the upstream dams are too large there can be some challenge when the flow of the river is low. This potential challenge requires that the development is based on appropriate scientific studies along the valley.This is critical to ensuring that the interest of any of the stakeholders particularly Niger and Nigeria is not compromised by the new development. One wants to believe that The Niger Basin Commission as Prof Okali suggested, has properly done this.

  5. Prof Olukayode Oladipo of the University of Lagos: Prof.,

    I believe that the Niger Basin Authority is fully involved and there should have been some initial studies. Unfortunately, I did not follow up when the whole idea for a series of dams on the Niger River was initially sounded about 10 years ago.

    The article in the newsletter should dig further and seek information from the Niger Basin Authority and other relevant bodies for some scientific information so that we can assess the issues more objectively.

    Thanks sir

  6. Prof Olukayode Oladipo of the University of Lagos: On the contrary, there may not be as bad an implication as being contemplated. Remember, water must be released for turbines to generate. Niger is also contemplating to generate power from the same Niger river.

    All these call for an integrated holistic research and analysis before we reach conclusions. The Niger Basin Authority/Commission must be fully utilised to drive the process of the required cooperation among nations along the river.

    It also a signal for Nigeria, being downstream of these rivers (Benue and Niger), to start looking up to other renewable energy alternatives. Otherwise, it has to be ready to go to to war to prevent other countries upstream from damming them.


  7. Engr Chike Chikwendu of Friends of the Environment (FOTE): Of course there will be implications for Nigeria in general and the Kainji Dam in particular. The implications, I believe can be unravelled in a technical forum which I volunteer to help push.
    Thanks EnviroNews for bringing this critical issue to the fore.

  8. The Federal Ministry of Environment, National Planning, Foreign Affairs and Agriculture should not sit idly over this development. Nigeria being in the down stream location of river Niger, there is no way the daming of the Niger river in far away Mali Republic would not have an adverse effect on our day-to- day living. The cessation of water flow from the Futa Jallon in Mali into Nigeria can cause a chain of economic and water crises of unforeseen dimension.
    The EIA effect of the dam must be carried out by our environmentalists as quickly as possible before it is too late to take remedial action. The Federal government must also also engage the Malian government in high level discussion in order to trash out all environmental issues that deserve some clarifications.

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