Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama has reached an agreement with the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) for the development of a 350MW power plant in Western Ghana under government plans to double installed generation capacity to 5,000MW by 2016.

Ben Dotsei Malor, Ghana’s presidential spokesperson, stated: “One key thing that emerged was an offer from the UAE for a support of $100m from the Abu-Dhabi development fund to be used by the government of Ghana for various projects including infrastructure projects.”

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Mahama at Ghana’s Presidential Villa, which is located in Akosombo in the Eastern Region, while the UAE was represented by side Sheikh Khalid Ghanim Al Gaith, Abu Dhabi’s assistant foreign minister for economic affairs.

Located in at Takoradi, the combined cycle power plant project will be constructed in phases by TAQA, with the first phase expected to produce 100MW of electricity daily. The finished plant will also be capable of producing 100,000 cubic metres of desalinated water daily.

Ghana currently has an installed capacity of more than 2,800MW, but the rapid growth in the country’s energy demand, at 7-8% a year, has compelled the government to explore both renewables and coal and solutions for both domestic and industrial power supply.

The plant deal promptly follows an invitation made by President Mahama to TAQA in January for the company  to expand upon its existing investments in the Takoradi International Company (TICO), which runs a thermal power plant responsible for roughly 15% of Ghana’s installed capacity.

“The Takoradi power plant is one of our vital resources. It has a key role in our economic vision, and its potential is key to our growth,” the president stated during a discussion at the time over the $330m expansion already underway at the Takoradi 2 power plant.

The recent talks between Mahama and Al Gaith also focused on the expansion of the port at Tema to increase its capacity to handle goods and improve the turn-around time of docked vessels – both moves that would advance Tema as a preferred destination for vessels operating in the sub-region.

Another topic of interest was the extraction of large deposits of bauxite at the Nyinahin enclave in the Ashanti Region, as the aluminium industry in particular features heavily in the President Mahama’s vision for the promotion of industrial development in Ghana.

Sheikh Khalid Ghanim Al Gaith added: “Co-operation with West Africa and Ghana in particular is a major part of the UAE’s foreign policy agenda, and we are very interested in increasing that co-operation by sharing our expertise in various fields, especially in energy.”