Cote d’Ivoire – The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), an infrastructure development finance institution in Africa, announced financial close of a credit facility towards Cote d’Ivoire’s 44-MW Singrobo-Ahouaty hydroelectric power project (SAHP).

AFC’s commitment to the Ivoire Hydro Energy (IHE) amounts to a total of US$197.8 million, comprising a majority equity investment of US$27.7 million, and a bridge loan facility of US$170.1 million.

AFC revealed that it has already completed the first disbursement of the investment.

IHE’s other shareholders include Themis, a project development company, and IHE Holding, a company incorporated by Ekolan Alain Etty, a local entrepreneur.

According to Samaila Zubairu, president and chief executive officer of AFC, the group’s innovative financing strategy for the project involved using a bridge loan to shorten the project cycle to below five years and commence construction.

The group highlighted that the financing approach is expected to accelerate the process of developing projects in Africa and enable more power projects to come on stream.

“We are proud to be a major investor and facilitator in the Singrobo-Ahouaty Hydropower Project because this new source of renewable power will be integral to Cote d’Ivoire’s economic growth and social development.

The Singrobo-Ahouaty Hydropower Project is an example of AFC’s objective of supporting Africa in unlocking its economic potential while also attaining attractive returns for our shareholders.

As our first equity investment in a hydro Independent Power Producer and our first power equity investment in a Francophone country, [this project] is an optimal step in diversifying AFC’s power portfolio, building our balance sheet and expanding our reach across French-speaking Africa,” said Samaila Zubairu.

Additionally, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is arranging the long-term debt financing, most of which has already secured approvals.

Tas Anvaripour, CEO of Themis said that the project continues to focus on complementary skills between its stakeholders and partners.

“Themis is proud to have contributed to the success of the SAHP, which is the first hydropower IPP to reach financial close in West Africa.

Themis joined the original developers back in 2013 when the project was still in the feasibility stage,” Tas Anvaripour added.

Côte d’Ivoire has electric generating capacity of 2,200 MW, with about 70% coming from thermal generation and the remainder being renewables, mainly hydropower.

Other hydropower facilities under construction in the country include the 112MW Gribo-Popoli on the Sassandra River.

Established in 2007, AFC has grown into a multilateral finance institution, with an equity capital base of US$1billion to be the catalyst for private-sector-led infrastructure investment across Africa.