Going against the grain of several companies specialising in the production of drinking water in sub-Saharan Africa, the Swiss company 3 P Renewables Switzerland (3PRS) is banking on public-private partnerships (PPPs) and has just obtained a concession in Congo. The company, which relies on renewable energies for the production of drinking water, has also just formulated a similar offer for the supply of several towns in Guinea.
Good news for 3 P Renewables Switzerland (3PRS). The company based in Martigny, Switzerland, has been awarded the concession contract for the production of drinking water under a BOOT (build, own, operate and transfer), a form of public-private partnership (PPP). The contract, which has been negotiated since February 2021, covers the development, financing and construction of drinking water production infrastructure to serve the city of Pointe-Noire in Congo.
3PRS is launching 3PRS Congo Pointe-Noire, a special purpose company that has signed a drinking water purchase agreement (PPA) with La Congolaise des eaux des eaux (LCDE). Under this 22.5-year partnership, 3PRS will build two compact plants capable of supplying 30,000 m3 of drinking water per day, for an annual capacity of 10.9 million m3. The treated water will be pumped from Lake Gambouissi in the department of Pointe-Noire.
These production infrastructures will be supported by three drinking water storage tanks with a total capacity of 4,500 m3. The contract also covers the rehabilitation of a 5,000 m3 reservoir, as well as the laying of 460 km of pipes to extend the primary, secondary and tertiary networks. This drinking water will be sold by the m3 to LCDE, the company that provides the public drinking water service in Congo.
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At the same time, 3PRS is developing another PPP in the city of Dolisie. The Swiss company expects a production capacity of 15,000 m3 to strengthen the drinking water supply in this city of more than 200,000 inhabitants in southern Congo. The treated water will come from the Loubomo River. The signing of the concession contract and the water purchase contract is expected to take place in March 2023.
Planned investments in Guinea
Within the framework of these two PPPs in Congo, 3PRS has just obtained the support of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the subsidiary of the World Bank Group, which should intervene in the financial closing. The company is continuing the deployment of its activities in sub-Saharan Africa through Guinea. In this West African country, 3PRS wants to contribute to strengthening the supply of drinking water in the main Guinean cities such as Kankan, Siguiri, Boffa, Boke, Labe, N’Zérékoré, Faranah, Kindia, Mamou and Kouroussa.
Following a mission commissioned by the Guinean authorities, the company formulated several PPP proposals, with durations ranging from 15 to 20 years, as well as PPAs with the Guinean Water Company (SEG). According to the World Bank, the drinking water deficit in the cities of Kankan, Siguiri, Boffa, Boke, Labe, N’Zérékoré, Faranah, Kindia, Mamou and Kouroussa is estimated at 240,000 m3 per day, with an estimated population of 4 million. 3PRS wants to meet this challenge by installing compact systems with a capacity ranging from 1,000 to 5,000 m3 per hour. For all these installations, the Swiss company intends to gain autonomy from the Guinean electricity grid by equipping them with hybrid solar systems.
PPPs are not very common in the African water sector. However, this model of infrastructure financing has been tested for some years in Rwanda. As part of a PPP in Kigali, the Emirati multinational Metito created Kigali Water Limited (KWL) to build a 40,000 m3 per day drinking water plant, i.e., one third of the total volume of drinking water distributed in this city of 1.8 million inhabitants.
Jean Marie Takouleu