Fewer than one in five people in Guinea have access to electricity and even for those connected to the grid blackouts are all too common. This forces households, businesses and public services to rely on expensive diesel generators or to go without power altogether.
The lack of reliable, affordable electricity is a major brake on Guinea’s development, as in many countries across Africa. Among its effects, it imposes a substantial cost on Guinean businesses of all sizes, preventing them from expanding and creating more jobs. It limits the number of international investors choosing to set up operations in the country. It forces children to have to stop studying at sunset. And it prevents clinics and hospitals from being as effective as they could be.
Improving the scale and reliability of the electricity supply in Guinea has therefore been one of President Condé’s top priorities since his election in 2010.
At the heart of his Government’s energy programme over the past five years has been the development of a new dam and hydropower plant on the Konkouré River at Kaléta, 120km from the capital Conakry. The first of three new turbines at Kaléta successfully came online in May 2015 and by the end of the year the completed plant will provide 240 MW of additional capacity in the rainy season, more than doubling the total working supply on the national grid.
The financing, construction and launch of Kaléta – including keeping its final phases on track during the Ebola crisis – is a major delivery success for the Government of Guinea, and AGI has played its part. The dam has been one of several priority infrastructure projects whose development has been overseen by the Government’s central Administration et Contrôle des Grands Projets et Marchés Publics (ACGPMP). AGI has been supporting the ACGPMP since early 2012 to strengthen its capacity to monitor the implementation of major projects like Kaléta and to identify and address bottlenecks to keep them moving forward on time and on budget.
Together with a handful of other projects under way to build and refurbish power plants, transmission lines and distribution networks, the completion of Kaléta will allow the power supply to meet the consumer demand for the first time in many years. In so doing it will transform the availability and affordability of electricity for hundreds of thousands of Guinean homes, businesses and critical services and relieve a major constraint on the country’s development.