The Bank approved last June the package of a US$ 100 million soft loan (with six years grace) and a US$ 50 million grant to help fund the second phase of resettlement and livelihood support. The additional financing from the WBG will support the promotion of environmental and social safeguards and the development of irrigation systems and local community activities, such as new housing in resettled areas, support for the affected people and provision of water and sewage services.
Situated 189 km northwest of the capital Niamey, Kandadji will be Niger’s first hydroelectric dam. The hydro plant is being built in tandem with a 30 m-high, 8.7 km-long combined concrete and earthfill dam, on behalf of the state owner-operator Agence du Barrage de Kandadji (ABK) by the China Gezhouba Group Company, as part of the Kandadji Ecosystem Regeneration and Niger Valley Development Programme. The dam will be developed in two phases, reaching a planned height of 26 m in its first phase of construction, which is expected to end in 2025 or 2026, and to be heightened to 30 m in the second phase, which is scheduled to begin in 2026 and to be completed by the end of 2031. At that time the reservoir will extend into Mali.
The multipurpose project is designed to regulate the flow of the river Niger to provide water for irrigation and human consumption, as well as electricity to the capital Niamey. The dam, which will impound a reservoir with a maximum storage capacity of 1.43 x 109 m3, is expected to improve agricultural production, food security and the living conditions of local communities through the irrigation of some 45 000 ha of land, as well as ensure regeneration and conservation of river ecosystems on the Nigerien portion of the river to ensure a minimum flow rate of 120 m3/s to Niamey throughout the year. The power station, which will be equipped with four Kaplan turbines with nominal unit capacity of 32.5 MW, is designed to generate average annual output of 629 GWh, which is equivalent to about half of the country’s total electricity consumption in 2018. Power will be supplied to Niamey through a new 132 kV double circuit transmission line.
The project cost has increased from an initial US$ 785 million to US$ 1.29 billion and is being financed by 11 donors (the African Development Bank, the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the French Development Agency, the ECOWAS Investment and Development Bank, the Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the West African Development Bank, the Abu Dhabi Fund, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Saudi Fund for Development, the OPEC Fund for International Development) as well as the Government of the Republic of Niger. The IDA funds are the third package agreed by the WBG for the project. Project backers had to apply for a waiver for the latest funding as a result of “moderately unsatisfactory” progress on the project to date.
Kandadji has been held up by delays since Lahmeyer completed feasibility studies in 1988. A US$ 127 million construction contract was awarded to Zarubezhvodstroy of Russia in September 2010, but was terminated by the Government in 2013 because of non-performance. The project was revived in 2016, and in early 2018 China Gezhouba Group Company was selected as the civil works contractor.
Funding of US$ 436 million was pledged in November 2018 to help resettle the 50 000 people who will be affected by the dam. Construction was officially launched in March 2019, (see H&D Issue 3, 2019).