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IFC MOBILIZES SUPPORT FOR POWER PROJECT IN COTE D'IVOIRE


L. Joseph
Phone:(202) 473-7700
Fax:(202) 974-4384
E-mail:ljoseph@ifc.org


WASHINGTON, D.C., January 15, 1999 --- The International Finance Corporation has mobilized the first international commercial bank financing of a major power project in sub-Saharan Africa – Azito Power in Côte d'Ivoire.  The natural gas fired project will help to satisfy the urgent demand for electricity and reduce dependence on the country's hydro resources.

Azito consists of a 300 megawatt (MW) power station and an associated transmission system reinforcement.  It is being developed under a 23-year BOOT (build-own-operate-transfer) concession by ABB Energy Ventures, a subsidiary of ABB Asea Brown Boveri Limited, Industrial Promotion Services-Côte d'Ivoire, a unit of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, and EdF-I, a subsidiary of Electricité de France, the French national electricity utility.  The power plant, located 10 km from Abidjan city center, will be implemented in two 150 MW phases.  Phase I is scheduled for completion in January 1999 and Phase II by January 2000.


IFC's financing for the US$223 million project consists of a $30 million loan for its own account and another $30 million loan syndicated with a group of European banks. Together with Société Générale, IFC played the leading role in structuring the project, and paved the way for the mobilization of an additional $30 million in commercial bank loans supported by a Partial Risk Guarantee from the International Development Association (IDA). Société Générale was the syndication underwriter for the combined commercial bank package. A further $48 million is being provided by a bilateral/multilateral club, including the African Development Bank, the Commonwealth Development Corporation, DEG (Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklungsgesellschaft) and FMO (Netherlands Development Finance Institution).


Azito Power will address the critical shortage of power supply in Côte d'Ivoire and will also have a regional impact by enabling electricity exports to neighboring countries such as Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Burkina Faso, said Mr. Vivek Talvadkar, IFC's Power Department Director.  He added that IFC and IDA played a key role in creating a strong, bankable project, introducing lessons learned elsewhere and ensuring  maximum development impact for the host country.  IFC's involvement led, among other things, to improvements in the electricity sector regulatory environment and to substantial mitigation of urban resettlement arising from the transmission system reinforcement.


IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters growth in the developing world and in emerging economies by financing private sector investments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets, and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.  IDA, also a member of the World Bank Group, provides concessional loans to developing country governments.