Mali Commences Construction of West Africa’s Largest Solar Plant

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Both Mali and Russia started the construction of West Africa’s largest solar power plant, which comes in at a time when the west African country ,Mali, is struggling with providing electricity to some half of its overall population.

The power plant, “the first (in terms of size) in the country and also in the sub-region will significantly cut the electricity shortage currently affecting our country,” Malian Energy Minister Bintou Camara stated on national TV station ORTM.

Developer of the West Africa’s Largest Solar Plant

The chief of Novawind, the Russian company that is responsible for the construction of the station and subsidiarity to Rosatom, stated that it is expected to increase electricity output in Mali by up to 10%.

Grigory Nazarov said that the project will take 1 year to be completed at an investment cost of $217 million. The solar plant will be built in the city of Sanankoroba near the country’s capital Bamako.

Capacity and Size of the Solar Power Plant

The 200-megawatt solar power plant will cover 314 hectares.. Nazarov said that it is designed for “stable operation for 20 years” and will go “under full control of the Malian Ministry of Energy” after ten years.

Mali’s national energy company is struggling with a debt exceeding $330 million, which has rendered it incapable of providing electricity to the capital and other regions across the country.

To address this energy crisis, construction of two additional solar power plants near Bamako is planned to begin on May 28 and June 1. These projects will be undertaken by Chinese and UAE companies.

Anti-colonial alliance

Quite a number of Malian military commanders organized a coup in the year 2021 and set up a new governing leadership based on both sovereignty and disciplined ties with the West, especially the country’s former colonizer France. This move saw the new authority expelling France’s ambassador, the French troops that were based in Mali under the pretext of war against terrorism, and banning French-funded NGOs. Moreover, Burkina Faso and Niger took similar measures after ousting Western-backed presidents and officials via military coups.

The trio expanded their cooperation and partnership, and made an announcement earlier this month that they have finalized plans to form a confederation – the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

Furthermore, a shift toward better ties with Russia, China, and Iran commenced directly after the new leaders announced revitalizing their policies and strategies to get rid of colonial and hegemonic influence on their countries.

With the removal of Western forces and the formation of the Confederation of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), the influence of the region i.e. West Africa in global geopolitics is becoming increasingly pronounced. The region’s assertive stance against neocolonialism and its strategic realignments indicates a broader shift in the global power balance, thereby ushering in a new era for the African region.

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