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Ivory Coast 372 MW power plant financed by China build starts

ABIDJAN, Sept 15 Building work has started in Ivory Coast on a 372-megawatt power plant worth 500 million euros financed mainly by China Construction Bank and set to open in 2018, Richard Amon, chairman of Star Energie 2073, said on Thursday.

The bank is providing 75 percent of funds for the Songon power station near the commercial capital Abidjan, while 25 percent will come from companies including General Electric and Star Energie 2073, which is an Ivorian firm and the project leader.

China Energy Engineering Corporation will lead construction of the plant's three turbines, which are provided by General Electric. The plant comprises two gas turbines of 126 MW and one 120-MW steam turbine.

"Work has already started on the ground and the first megawatts will be online in the second half of 2018," Amon told Reuters.

Ivory Coast, the world's top cocoa grower, has emerged from a decade of crisis as one of Africa's economic stars but rapid growth has placed a strain on its power sector.

Demand for power is rising by about 10 percent per year and the government is seeking investment to double output to 4,000 MW by 2020. Ivory Coast has reliable electricity and exports power to Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Mali, Togo and Liberia. (Reporting by Loucoumane Coulibaly; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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