Following major concerns raised by plaintiffs regarding negative impacts of Senegal’s Sendou coal fired power plant on the environment and local population, the African Development Bank (AfDB) ran an Independent Review Mechanism (IRM) initiative to ensure that the project strictly fits the bank’s policies and procedures. The board of directors of the Bank has now approved the recommendations of the IRM.
In line with development goals of moving away from reliance on fossil fuel, Sendou’s 125MW coal fired power plant started producing power last November. In 2017, strong social protests arose around the plant. The bank confirmed local worries by stating that: “noncompliance would negatively affect around 1,000 women and seasonal workers that dry and package fish”.
The project is of major importance, as it will supply up to 40 percent of Senegal’s current electricity output, producing 925,000MW per year.
The project was approved by AfDB’s Board of Directors in November 2009 for a total cost of almost $190 million, of which $56,537,835 is a senior loan. The financing model is a public-private partnership supported by the West-African Development Bank and two private banks: CBAO Senegal (a subsidiary of Attijariwafa Bank – Morocco) and the Netherlands Development Bank (Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.).
The Board’s decision means an action plan to resolve said conflicts will be put in place imminently and will be monitored by the IRM who will produce annual reports to the Board.
Senegal boasts an access to power rate of over 65 percent – putting it among the highest in Africa. Since its launch in 2014, the Emerging Senegal Plan has implemented several power projects, including West Africa’s largest solar power plant in Bokhol in 2016.