The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved three US$25M International Development Association (IDA) credits to the Republic of Mali, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Republic of Senegal to finance the development of Félou hydroelectric project in Mali.

The IDA credits were approved under the US$350M adaptable programme lending (APL) facility that supports the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) initiative of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The Félou hydroelectric project is part of the Organisation pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Sénégal (OMVS) which aims to alleviate power supply deficits in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal by augmenting the supply of low cost hydroelectricity. All three IDA credits (US$25M equivalent to the Republic of Mali, US$25M to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and US$25M to the Republic of Senegal) will finance the design, construction and commissioning of the 59MW run-of-river hydroelectric plant at Felou, under a single responsibility, date-certain, fixed price turnkey contract to be awarded by the Société de Gestion de l’Energie de Manantali (SOGEM), on behalf of the three OMVS riparian countries.

A portion of the IDA credit to the Republic of Senegal will also finance: (a) comprehensive project cycle management services to be provided to the OMVS and SOGEM by an experienced engineering consulting firm that will oversee the design, construction and commissioning of the Félou hydroelectric plant; (b) measures to upgrade the communication and data acquisition facilities to enable real-time information exchange between the OMVS power system load dispatching center at Manantali and the three national power utilities of Mali, Mauritania and Senegal; and (c) acquisition of the necessary software licenses to support operational optimisation and scheduling of the combined hydro and thermal power generation capacity of the OMVS riparian countries.

‘The primary objective of this WAPP sub-programme is to augment the supply of low cost hydroelectricity from the OMVS Power System by harnessing the run-of-river hydroelectric site at Felou, which is located in Mali, about 200km downstream of the existing 250MW Manantali hydroelectric facility. This will help alleviate power supply deficits in these three WAPP Zone “B” OMVS Countries of West Africa,’ said Amarquaye Armar, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the WAPP APL programme. ‘This program is part of a continuing series of programmatic lending operations that support African initiatives to create an open, unified regional economic space through the integration of markets for infrastructure services.’

Under the auspices of WAPP, a specialised institution of ECOWAS, a cooperative, power pooling mechanism is being established as a means to increase access of the citizens of the community to stable and reliable electricity at affordable costs. The OMVS Power System Development Sub-programme of WAPP will leverage the functions and operational capabilities of the OMVS Power System to create the nucleus of the proposed power pooling mechanism for WAPP ‘Zone B’ countries (The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone).