The developing world needs more electricity, telephones, clean water, and transport and governments are encouraging the private sector to take a role in providing these basic services. AKFED is responding to the challenge and is looking at infrastructure projects in telecommunications, water and sewerage, and power generation. The Azito project was AKFED's first investment in the power sector; it was followed various other energy projects in East and West Africa as well as Central Asia.
The Largest Private Sector Power Plant in Sub-Saharan Africa
The Azito power facility is the largest private sector power plant in sub-Saharan Africa, developed and operated by the Swiss/Swedish ABB, the French Electricité de France, and AKFED's venture capital arm in West Africa, Industrial Promotion Services. Azito is the largest gas-fired power station in West Africa. The 290 MegaWatt project, developed on a build-own-transfer basis, commenced electricity production in March 1999 and makes use of Côte d'Ivoire's supplies of natural gas.
The financing of this US$ 225 million private infrastructure project was provided by the shareholders and by way of loans from international and bilateral development agencies including International Finance Corporation (IFC), Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), African Development Bank (ADB), Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), and the German investment and development company (DEG) and commercial banks. The financing benefited from a Partial Risk Guarantee issued by the International Development Association (IDA) the soft-loan arm of The World Bank, the first guarantee of its kind.
Jim Wolfensohn, President of The World Bank, and Prince Rahim Aga Khan, Director of AKFED, chatted before the inauguration ceremony of the Azito Energie Project in 1999.
Production Contributes to more than 40% of Côte d'Ivoire's Electricity Generation
Azito produces more than 40% of the Côte d'Ivoire's electricity generation and its production is principally exported to neighbouring countries. The Azito project is a good example of the relevance of private sector support in economic development, responding to the growing demand in the developing world for improved and reliable infrastructure services.