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World Bank to give 261 million for Banda gas project

Staff writer |
The World Bank Group Boards of Executive Directors approved up to $261 million in guarantees issued by IDA, its concessional financing arm to Mauritania ($130 million), Senegal ($99 million) and Mali ($32 million) to support the Banda gas-to-power project.

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The support also includes $585 million in investment guarantees provided by the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).

The Banda Gas-to-Power Project will produce and convert natural gas from offshore gas fields in Mauritania into 300 megawatts of new electricity. This will provide affordable, reliable, and sustainable power to Mauritania’s national grid for its homes, businesses, and mines. It will also export power to Mali and Senegal.

Lack of electricity cuts growth rates by as much as 2% in Senegal. Demand for power is rising in all three countries. Current power demand is being increasingly met through expensive and polluting liquid fuel based power generation. High costs of generation make it difficult to achieve full cost recovery for the power supplied. Utilities are struggling and require public money to stabilize their finances.

Using natural gas for domestic power generation and exports is part of the Government of Mauritania’s strategy to maximize development impact of resource extraction. Over 1.4 million households or 7 million people stand to benefit in the three countries. New gas finds in Mauritania are a potential game changer for the sub-region.

The Banda gas-to-power project presents a new approach to developing energy resources on a regional basis. Combining power demands from multiple countries provides the scale at which gas field development becomes commercially viable at acceptable cost for power consumers. The project also uses the creditworthy mining sector as an anchor customer to create economies of scale and reduce buyer risks.

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