Kenya targets African Development Bank to back coal project

Finance Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich. [File, Standard]
Kenya is hopeful that the African Development Bank will approve a facility to back the rolling out of the 1,000 megawatt coal power project in Lamu, according to the National Treasury.

The bank is set to offer partial guarantee for the project, paving the way for the construction of the coal-fired plant.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said he had met African Development Bank (AfDB) officials on the sidelines of the lender’s annual meeting in Busan, South Korea, to give them an update on the project ahead of the proposal moving to the bank’s board.

"I gave them an update on the entry of General Electric into the deal as well as the environmental impact assessment report. You know that they are giving us a partial risk guarantee and we are hoping that when it goes to the board it will be approved," he said.

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The project, which was expected to start in December 2015, was delayed by environmental lobby group Save Lamu Natural Justice, which appealed to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to delay issuing Amu Power an electricity generation licence for the project.

ERC disallowed the objection last year, setting the stage for the rolling out of the project using coal power at a time when there is a global concerted effort to cut carbon emissions.

Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and a former governor of Nigeria's central bank who is attending the 2018 annual meeting, said Africa should be allowed to use coal-fired power if it is to develop like the West, which still largely relies on coal.

American multinational conglomerate General Electric recently joined the consortium of firms that have packaged the Amu Power deal, including the Chinese Gulf Energy and investment firm Centum.

Amu Power said the agreement with General Electric will see the American firm acquire a Sh50 billion stake in Amu Power through its affiliates, subject to obtaining regulatory, board and lender approval.

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African Development BankLamuNational Treasuryoal power project