EDF Group has entered a deal with International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Republic of Cameroon to construct a €1.2bn hydropower plant in the country.

The project will include a 420MW plant with seven generating units, a generation substation, and a 50km power transmission line, as well as dams and a headrace channel.

It will be located at the Sanaga River near the Nachtigal Falls, 65km north-east of Yaoundé.

Binding agreements signed by the firms involve design, construction and operation of the project for 35 years.

EDF Group chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy said: “The signing of these agreements will strengthen the group’s position in Africa, a continent where we have been active for more than 50 years and which is of strategic importance for expanding our business.

“The signing of these agreements will strengthen the group’s position in Africa.”

“The Nachtigal project is a contributor to two key objectives of our Cap 2030 strategy: tripling our share of business outside Europe and doubling our renewable capacities worldwide by 2030.”

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Nachtigal Hydro Power (NHPC) will own and operate the hydropower project. EDF holds 40% interest in NHPC, while IFC and the Republic of Cameroon each own 30%.

Once operational, the new power plant is expected cater to nearly 30% of the country’s electricity demand. Generated power will be sold to the grid operator under a power purchase agreement.

The project is estimated to create up to 1,500 direct jobs during peak construction, which will be partly funded by shareholders’ equity.

Remaining costs will be supported by lenders, including 11 development finance institutions and four local commercial banks coordinated by IFC.