The European Business Council for Africa

Mauritania's Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Abdessalam Mohamed Saleh, and the African Development Bank's Deputy Managing Director for North Africa, Malinne Blomberg, signed, on Thursday in Nouakchott, financing agreements for two energy sector projects in Mauritania worth a total of US$289.5 million, covering solar power generation, transnational electricity interconnection and rural electrification.

The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Energy, Oil and Mines, Nany Ould Chrougha, the Managing Director of the Société de gestion de l'énergie de Manantali (SOGEM), Mohamed Mahmoud Sid'Elemine, and the Managing Director of the Société mauritanienne d'électricité (SOMELEC), Ousmane Tall.

The financing, made up of loans and grants, is intended to implement the 225 Kv Mauritania-Mali electricity interconnection and associated solar power plants development project (PIEMM) as well as the project to strengthen productive and energy investments for the sustainable development of rural areas (RIMDIR).

"There can be no sustainable, diversified economic growth without high-quality, reliable electricity that is accessible to all. Within this framework, the government has drawn up ambitious programs seeking to guarantee access to electricity for all citizens by 2030, and this requires the optimal exploitation of the energy sources available in the country, to which i this financing from the African Development Bank will contribute," said Mr. Abdelssalam Mohamed Saleh.

"Today we are signing financing agreements that pave the way for Mauritania's energy transition. The two projects will improve people's daily lives with new opportunities for green growth, sustainable investment and jobs. They attest to the excellence of our relations with Mauritania, which they help to strengthen", said Mrs Blomberg.

The first project, the PIEMM, involves building a 225 kV electricity interconnection to link Mauritania to Mali as part of the Desert to Power Initiative

The program will develop solar power plants and establish a 1,373-kilometer high-voltage power line, with a transit capacity of 600 megawatts (MW) between the two countries. The medium- and long-term objectives are to boost solar energy production and provide universal access to electricity in both countries. The project is financed on the Mauritanian side by a $272 million loan from the African Development Fund -- the concessional window of the Development Bank Group -- and a $1.5 million grant from the Green Climate Fund. This financing is the largest ever granted by the African Development Bank to Mauritania.

The second project, RIMDIR, is a $16 million grant from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) and concerns rural electrification for 40 localities in south-eastern Mauritania. It involves the installation of hybrid mini photovoltaic power plants combining a photovoltaic park and a back-up electricity generator, and the construction of connecting lines to link the power plants to the villages, in the form of a public-private partnership (PPP). The project will also support value-creating activities, notably in the food cold chain (meat, milk, and vegetables) and agri-food processing.

The African Development Bank has been active in Mauritania for over fifty years in various strategic development sectors, including agriculture, governance, water and sanitation, energy, mining, private sector, transport and social.


Source: African Development Bank Group