Contract awarded for Sambangalou, Senegal

A consortium led by Vinci Construction has signed a contract with the Gambia River Basin Development Organisation (Organisation de Mise en Valeur du Fleuve de la Gambie - OMVG) to build the 128 MW Sambangalou dam and hydro scheme in the Kédougou region in southeastern Senegal. The €388 million contract follows on from an initial phase of studies and preparatory work, which took place over a period of 18 months, the French construction group announced on 10 December. The consortium, led by Vinci Construction Grands Projets with Vinci Construction Terrassement and Andritz, expects work to begin in the first half of 2021 and to take up to 48 months.

The Sambangalou project, which is to be located 930 km upstream from the mouth of the river Gambia, will feature a 91 m-high gravity dam, which will impound a 3.8 km3 reservoir spanning territory in Senegal and Guinea. The associated powerplant is designed to generate annual output of 400 GWh, which will be fed into the grids of The Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal, the four member countries of the OMVG. In addition, the project will improve irrigation of farm land, supply drinking water for local districts and provide flood control. At its peak, the project will employ 1000 people recruited and trained locally.

Sambangalou is being developed as an OMVG energy project, which aims to improve electricity access and provide affordable renewable energy in the OMVG’s member states. The project also entails the construction of a network of 1677 km of 225 kV lines linking the electricity grids of the four member countries. The project will enable electricity trading between the four countries and connect them to the rest of the electricity network of the sub-region, the West African Power Pool (WAPP). As of the end of November 2020, civil works were underway at all 15 substations (four in Senegal, two in The Gambia, four in Guinea-Bissau, and five in Guinea), and on more than 98 per cent of the lines. Overall, the line is now 46 per cent constructed and substations are now 38 per cent constructed, with the first sections in Senegal expected to be commissioned this year.

The project is being financed by the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, French Development Agency, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, the Islamic Development Bank, JICA, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the West African Development Bank, the World Bank and the Exim Bank of China.