Norway’s Scatec to build giant Africa solar plant

Norwegian renewable energy specialist Scatec Solar has struck a €52m deal to build West Africa's first industrial-scale solar power plant, the company announced in a statement on Friday.

Norway's Scatec to build giant Africa solar plant
Scatec's Dreunberg plant in South Africa. Photo: Scatec
The Oslo-based company said it planned to build the plant in the  city of Segou in the south west of Mali and run it for 25 years.
“This landmark agreement signals the government's commitment to meet the nation's growing energy demand and to provide clean, renewable and affordable energy to our people,” energy minister Mamadou Frankaly Keita was quoted as saying.
The plant is expected to produce enough electricity each year to power 60,000 typical family homes, while cutting annual carbon dioxide emissions by about 46,000 tonnes.
Mali, a volatile, conflict-hit country of over 16 million people, has been plagued in recent years by chronic electricity outages.
The government reported last year that the country, which is almost two-thirds desert, had managed to supply just 45 percent of its electricity demand in 2013.
The administration in Bamako says Mali's EDM-SA energy company — two-thirds owned by the state and a third owned by a subsidiary of the Aga Khan group — is in crisis, failing to ensure an adequate supply despite state
subsidies worth 87.7 million euros in 2013.
“After several years of development efforts in the region, we can now move forward with the first utility-scale solar plant in west Africa,” Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen said.
“The Malian authorities have demonstrated decisive will to tackle the nagging issue of power supply.”
Scatec will own 50 percent of the Segou plant while the World Bank's International Finance Corporation will hold 32.5 percent, leaving the remaining equity to local partner Africa Power 1.
The project is to be funded by a combination of traditional bank borrowing, a loan from the World Bank's Investment Climate Fund and equity contributed by the partners.

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Denmark to deploy special forces to Mali in 2022

Denmark plans to deploy about 100 special forces to Mali early next year to boost the elite anti-jihadist European task force Takuba headed by France, the government announced Thursday.

Denmark to deploy special forces to Mali in 2022
A UN aircraft about to depart Denmark for Mali in 2019. File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

“The terrorist threat posed by the Islamic State group and Al-Qaeda remainssignificant,” the foreign and defence ministries said in a joint statement.

“They want to create a hub in West Africa for their extremist regime… and we cannot allow that to happen,” they added.

The Danish contingent, which apart from the special forces will also include top level military officers and surgeons, will be deployed at the beginning of 2022, the ministries said.

Copenhagen also plans to send a military transport plane to assist the UN mission in Mali, MINUSMA.

The French-led Takuba multinational force, launched in March 2020, has already seen Czech, Swedish and Estonian troops deployed in the region but France has struggled to obtain significant support from its larger EU partners.