The European Investment Bank has agreed to support crucial investment to upgrade energy infrastructure in the West African state of Guinea. Economic development has been severely hindered by limited electricity production and distribution in a country with huge hydropower resources and high costs of operating diesel generators. Although the energy schemes are not in areas of the country most affected by the Ebola outbreak, once operational the scheme will help both medical treatment and economic activity.

The new represents the first engagement by the European Investment Bank since the end of sanctions following a coup in 2008 and the last project to upgrade the Port of Conakry agreed in 2003.

The Finance Contract for the European Investment Bank support for this essential energy investment in Guinea was signed in Brussels by H.E. Mohamed Diare, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Guinea and Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.

“West Africa faces huge energy challenges and the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting investment across Africa that both supports economic activity and improves lives. I am pleased that the European Investment Bank has been able to restart operations in Guinea after an absence of more than a decade. The Ebola epidemic is yet to be contained but it is essential that the international community does not abandon the region. We stand ready to do all we can to assist now and support economic recovery in the years ahead.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President.

The investment programme supported by the European Investment Bank will redevelop four hydropower plants at Grand Chutes, Donkea, Baneah and Garafiri that will increase power generation capacity from 75MW to 122 MW. Two substations at Sonfonia and Kipe, and electricity distribution in Conakry will also be upgraded and expanded.

The European Investment Bank will provide around 38% of the project cost, alongside support from the Republic of Guinea, the Islamic Development Bank, Kuwait Development Fund, World Bank and African Development Bank.