11 Jun 2021

EAIF and Proparco partner to finance the first biomass plant with grid injection in Africa

The Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) and Proparco have closed a 165M EUR project finance deal and 13M EUR grant to secure the financing of Biovea project in Ivory Coast, which will be the first biomass power plant with grid injection in Africa.

The loans are granted by Proparco, the private sector financing arm of Agence française de développement (AFD) Group, and the Emerging Africa Instructure Fund to Biovea Energie, which was the winner of the 25-year concession to design, build, operate and transfer the 46MW biomass plant.

Biovea Energie is incorporated in Ivory Coast and is sponsored by EDF (Electricité De France), Meridiam, and Biokala, a joint venture set up between Meridiam and SIFCA*, a major agro-industrial player in West Africa.

EAIF – a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) Company – is managed by Ninety-One.

EAIF’s contribution to the deal is around 30m EUR of debt and PIDG Technical Assistance provided an 8m EUR Viability Gap Funding grant, while Proparco commits 140m EUR of blended financing made of 135 mln EUR at a concessional margin and a 5m EUR Viability Gap Funding grant.

The power plant will be supplied with circa 450k tons of palm trees waste thanks to a long term fuel supply agreement signed with PalmCi a subsidiary of SIFCA. Palmci will source 30% of the biomass needed for the plant from its own existing industrial palm oil plantations and 70% from outgrowers.

The project will help to create 600 jobs during the construction period and more than 1,100 jobs or full-time equivalent during the operating period. 70% of biomass will be supplied by local small holder farmers who are expected to realize an average income increase of 20%. 12,000 are currently in the company’s supply chain.  It is estimated that the Biovea project will also permit to avoid the emission of c.340 thousand tons of CO2 equivalent per year once operational.

Grégory Clemente, CEO of Proparco noted “BIOVEA is an innovative renewable energy project which brings Ivory Coast further on a virtuous climate trajectory as per Paris Agreement commitments and contributes to the development of a sustainable agricultural supply chain and energy production using local fuel. Proparco is extremely proud to have accompanied EDF, Meridiam and SIFCA, 3 clients with which we have a long history of cooperation in the development and blended financing of this project from the very beginning. This project will contribute to job creation and revenue increase of households in rural areas as well as important CO2 emissions avoidance”

* In 2018, a EUR 90m loan was allocated by Proparco (lead arranger), FMO – its Dutch counterpart – and Société Générale, to SIFCA in order to finance the agricultural investments of its subsidiaries and contribute to the economic and social development of the region.

This article was originally published on eaif.com on 11 June 2021

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