Proparco, EAIF offer €165 mn for West Africa’s largest biomass project

 Proparco, EAIF offer €165 mn for West Africa’s largest biomass project

Proparco and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund (EAIF) have closed a €165 million project finance deal for a biomass power project of Biovea Energie in Ivory Coast, they said on Thursday.

The funding is in addition to a €13 million grant for the project, which will be the first biomass power plant with grid injection in Africa. The 46MW biomass plant is the largest biomass project in West Africa.

Biovea is a joint venture of EDF (Electricité De France), Meridiam, and Biokala. It had won a 25-year concession in 2019 to design, build, operate and transfer the biomass plant. Biokala is a unit of SIFCA, a major agro-industrial player in West Africa.

The EAIF, a fund managed by asset management firm Ninety-One, will bring around €30 million of debt. PIDG Technical Assistance is pitching in with €8 million viability gap funding grant.

Proparco has committed €140 million of blended financing for the project. Of this, Proparco is bringing €135 million debt and €5 million viability gap funding grant.

The power plant will be supplied with around 450,000 tons of palm trees waste and will have a long-term fuel supply agreement 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 is likely to create 500 jobs during the construction period and more than 1,000 jobs or full-time equivalent during the operating period.

This is the second such partnership for Proparco with SIFCA. In 2018, a €90 million loan was allocated by Proparco (as the lead arranger), FMO and Société Générale, to SIFCA to finance the agricultural investments of its subsidiaries.

The Capital Quest