Cameroon’s Biya Authorizes Joule Africa to Build Key Electricity Plant


    Cameroon’s President Paul Biya last weekend authorized British energy firm Joule Africa to start constructing a key West African hydroelectricity plant, a government official told Dow Jones Newswires Tuesday.

    On behalf of Mr. Biya, Secretary-General of Cameroon’s presidency Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh gave the accord Friday to Joule Africa’s representative Mark Green during a meeting at the presidency, said the official in Cameroon’s ministry of energy and water resources, who declined to be named. Mr. Green was accompanied to the meeting by the British High Commissioner to Cameroon Bharat Joshi.

    Joule Africa aims to invest 500 billion central African francs ($1.0 billion) in building a dam and produce 450 megawatts of electricity per year from a plant it will build on the River Katsina-Ala in Cameroon’s English-speaking north-west region, added the source.

    Upon completion, the new electricity output will raise Cameroon’s energy supply by 40%, up from the existing 1,266 megawatts per year produced by the U.S.’ AES Corp. (AES), through its Cameroon affiliate AES-Sonel.

    Friday’s move was a follow-up from an agreement Joule Africa had reached in January 2012 with the Cameroon government, which gave the company the right to carry out pre-feasibility studies on the project. Both parties later signed memorandum of understanding.

    Joule Africa’s project falls in line with the Cameroon government’s scheme to lift the country’s power output to 3,000 megawatts per year by 2020 to leverage industrial output.