- The Energy Ministers of Togo and Benin this weekend met in Cotonou to agree on an enhanced cooperation in the regional power supply network. The Ministers also discussed the progress of constructing the new joint hydroelectric power plant to be opened at Adjaralla, on the border of Benin and Togo.
Beninese Energy and Mining Minister Kamarou Fassassi this weekend received his Togolese colleague, Issifou Okoulou-Kantchati, for talks in the Beninese capital, Cotonou. The two Ministers were discussing how to enhance the regional cooperation in power supply. Directors of Benin's electricity utility, Communauté Électrique du Bénin (CEB), and other institutions also participated in the two-day meeting.
The two government's agenda mainly was to oversee the integration of the electricity network of the two neighbours and the ongoing projects to enhance power supply. Means to consolidate the financial situation of the programmes were also discussed, according to Togolese government sources.
The hydroelectric plant being constructed at Adjaralla, in Mono Valley at the southern Togolese-Beninese border, is the most important electricity project binding the two countries together. This project is a joint-venture between the governments of Benin and Togo and will include a 50 meter high dam at the border.
The construction of the 100 MW Adjaralla hydroelectric plant is currently being carried out by Benin's CEB. According to the Lomé government, the main goal of the Adjaralla project is to "increase production for the Beninese and Togolese power supply network, which strongly depends on foreign deliveries."
The Adjaralla dam will mostly flood lands of the Mono Valley in Togo. The Lomé government however holds that, in addition to an increased power supply, the project will also "allow the development of fishing, with an annual potential of 800 tons fish." Further downstream, the dammed water is to facilitate the implementation of an irrigation project of 40.000 ha in the two countries.
Minister Fassassi of Benin held that the project was vital to the development of the southern part of the two countries, in particular in light of the increased consumption of electricity in this population dense area. Mr Fassassi referred to a World Bank study that, according to him, had concluded that Benin and Togo would face a critical socio-economic bottleneck by 2007 if the Adjaralla was not realised.
According to forecasts presented by the Togolese government, the electricity demand in the two countries is to rise from presently 1.239 GWH to an estimated 2.823 GWH in 2015. The governments of Togo and Benin plan to meet this demand through several projects, including CEB's hydroelectric dam at Nangbéto (Benin), one gas turbine project in the Togolese capital, Lomé, and one in Cotonou.
While Benin and Togo are cooperating to meet their common electricity demands in an improved power supply network, they have also connected to a wider West African electricity network, including Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Nigeria. Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire however are facing chronic power deficits.
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