The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved  a senior loan of up to 50 million euros to finance the CIPREL Power Expansion Project to increase the existing plant capacity by 222 MW and thereby help Côte d'Ivoire to meet its growing energy needs through the provision of reliable and affordable electricity supply while also reducing the environmental footprint associated with electricity generation.

Electricity demand in Côte d'Ivoire has dramatically increased with an average rate of 6% per annum from 2003 to 2012 while net electricity production has grown at only 2% per annum during the same timeframe. Energy demand is expected to remain high in Côte d'Ivoire over the medium- to long-term, and the energy shortage is expected to widen if generation capacity is not adequately expanded. While the country's economy is still in the recovery stage, following the recent crisis, the provision of financing to boost affordable power is crucial.

The AfDB played a key role in reaching financial closure on the CIPREL Power Expansion Project through the provision of long tenor financing, which is hardly available on the market. Thanks to the AfDB's support, the existing power plant will be expanded to include an additional 111MW gas turbine, as well as a combined cycle turbine for an additional 111MW of generation through the installation of a steam turbine and two heat recovery boilers connected to a previously built gas turbine (commissioned in 2009). The AfDB and other lenders were also instrumental in convincing the sponsors to use more rigorous and up-to-date environmental and social management standards including the dry low-NOx green technology to reduce the NOx emissions. This fourth expansion will increase the gross plant capacity by 69% to a total of 543 MW. When the project becomes operational, CIPREL will have the largest thermal plant in operation in Sub-Saharan Africa.

CIPREL is a privately owned electricity production company in Côte d'Ivoire. As of today, CIPREL operates five gas turbines under a concession agreement signed in 1994 with the Government of Côte d'Ivoire and amended for the sixth time in December 2011 to allow the implementation of the fourth expansion. CIPREL started operating in 1995 and has a solid track record in operating gas turbines.

The project which increases the country generation capacity will help address the growing demand in Côte d'Ivoire and strengthen the availability of reliable electricity across the region. The project is expected to have important development outcomes in terms of improving standards of living and delivery of social services – e.g. health services and water supply – generation of revenues for the electricity sector and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), thereby increasing job creation and supporting a sustainable inclusive growth in the country.