The U.S. commits $550m to boost Senegal’s electricity sector

On September 9, the U.S. Government’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) officially launched the $550 million MCC–Senegal Power Compact in Dakar. The five-year partnership had been signed since 2018 and will be completed by an additional $50 million commitment from the Government of Senegal.

Investments will be made specifically in the strengthening of electricity networks in Dakar along with the boosting of electricity access in peri-urban and rural areas of the south and central regions. “The compact investment is designed to strengthen the power sector, by increasing reliability and access to electricity and aims to help the Government of Senegal establish a modern and efficient foundation upon which the nation’s power system can grow,” the MCC explains.

The compact includes in fact three distinct projects: a $376.8m project to modernize and strengthen Senelec’s transmission network, a $57.3m project to increase access to electricity in rural and peri-urban areas, and a $43.5m reform and capacity building project to strengthen the country’s laws, policies and regulations governing the electricity sector.

The strengthening of the state-utility’s transmission network will mobilise most of the company’s financing and target high-voltage transmission network in around around greater Dakar. It is notably expecting to pave the way for additional private sector investment in power generation in the future, including gas-to-power and renewable energy sources.  

Beyond official support from the American government, Senegal has attracted several private American investors into its power sector. The 86.6 MW Cap des Biches power plant for instance was the result of an agreement between ContourGlobal and Senelec executed during the Africa Leaders’ Summit convened by President Barack Obama in 2014. Both companies worked to rehabilitate the former GTI Dakar power station and construct a new thermal facility that remains until today one of Senegal’s top performing power plants.

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