Côte d’Ivoire secures loan to construct the largest Biogas Plant in West Africa.

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF), a company within the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), has granted a €35 million senior loan facility to support the development of a groundbreaking 46MW biomass power plant in Côte d’Ivoire. This plant is set to become the largest facility of its kind in West Africa.

The project is spearheaded by Biovea Energie, a venture owned by EDF International, Meridiam, and SIFCA. Once operational, Biovea Energie will own and operate the plant under a 25-year power purchase agreement, supplying the Ivorian grid.

The injection of capital from EAIF, along with commitments from lead arranger Proparco, a subsidiary of the French Development Agency, marks a significant step forward for the Ivorian energy sector’s net-zero pathway. Additionally, this financial closing represents a groundbreaking achievement for a project of this nature.

To aid in the project’s successful implementation, PIDG will provide support through its Technical Assistance program, offering an €8 million Viability Gap Funding grant—one of the largest ever disbursed by PIDG.

This €237 million initiative is projected to have a substantial environmental impact, reducing CO2 emissions by approximately 4.5 million tonnes over its 25-year lifetime. It plays a pivotal role in achieving Côte d’Ivoire’s ambitious goal of generating 45% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Notably, the plant will also contribute to the government’s priority of expanding electricity access by 2025, especially in rural areas where electrification rates are currently as low as 38%.

Situated in Ayebo, 100km east of the capital, Abidjan, the Biovea Energie project is expected to benefit around 1.7 million people. A significant portion of the power plant’s fuel will come from palm tree leaves and branches supplied by approximately 12,000 local out-growers. This integration of local farmers into the supply chain will diversify their revenue streams, providing them with greater income security and boosting their earnings by an estimated 15%.

Beyond income generation for the out-growers, the project will create economic opportunities during its construction phase, generating 500 jobs through the development of the plant and accompanying infrastructure for transmission, transport, and communications. Once operational, an additional 1,000 jobs will be sustained in the local economy.

Furthermore, approximately 520,000 tonnes of agricultural residue that would otherwise be discarded will be utilized to power the plant’s turbines. The ashes resulting from this process will be provided back to farmers as natural fertilizers for their crops.

The enhanced energy security achieved through this project will not only benefit Côte d’Ivoire but also its neighboring countries. The country’s evolving energy market is set to become an essential exporter of electricity to six neighboring nations.

Aligned with PIDG’s commitment to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal on Access to Clean and Affordable Energy (SDG 7), the plant, once commissioned, will contribute significantly to promoting sustainable and clean energy practices.

Olivia Carballo from Ninety One, the fund manager of the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, highlighted the significance of Côte d’Ivoire’s energy market and its potential to drive growth across Africa while positively impacting thousands of livelihoods in the region.

Franck Koblavi, Biovea Energie’s CFO, expressed delight in closing the deal, emphasizing how it moves them closer to achieving the country’s energy mix goals and advancing an ambitious yet achievable sustainability agenda. Working with exceptional partners has enabled the project to consider various aspects of creating a positive impact, ensuring quality service delivery from investment to energy production.

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  • Samson Adeyemo

    An experienced broadcast and print media journalist with nose for news and proven track records of success without compromising objectivity.

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