March 9, 2012 / 3:24 PM / in 6 years

Cameroon inks MOU in $1 bln 450 MW hydro project

YAOUNDE, March 9 (Reuters) - Cameroon and U.S. emerging markets energy developer Joule Africa signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop a $1 billion 450 MW Kpep Hydroelectric Project in the Central African nation, the parties said on Friday.

The project will boost the country’s current installed power generation capacity by at least 40 percent, a statement from Cameroon’s water resources and energy minister said.

Cameroon’s government has embarked on plans to increase the country’s power generation capacity, which in the past, along with other infrastructure shortages, have slowed the growth potential of Central Africa region’s biggest economy.

The government has said it plans to increase power capacity from 1,037 MW to 3,000 MW by 2020, which is seen as key for the country to attain an emerging economy status by 2035.

“Independent power projects such as this one with Joule Africa, are at the core of the government of Cameroon’s strategy for increasing access to water and energy,” Water Resources and Energy Minister Basile Atangana Kouna said in a statement.

“The involvement of the private sector is key to building necessary infrastructure and to realising the development goals the country has set,” Kouna said.

Joule Africa’s managing director Mark Green said the firm was happy to partner with the government of to develop the project, its second in sub-Saharan Africa.

Joule Africa, a member of the California-based Joule Investments Group, signed a similar deal with Sierra Leone in May last year to expand the West African country’s Bumbuna hydro electric project, which will add about 350 Megawatts of generation capacity to the country.

Green said the project in Cameroon will take approximately six to seven years to come on stream and will cost about $1 billion, subject to the feasibility study.

“We are committed to working closely with both the technical and financial community in Cameroon to make this a genuine partnership between Joule Africa and the people and government of Cameroon,” Green said.

The Kpep hydro project is located on the Katsina-Ala River in North-West region of Cameroon close to the border with Nigeria. (Reporting by Tansa Musa; Writing by Bate Felix)

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