Development partnership is one of the key aspects of India’s foreign policy which brings about tangible and enduring results for the government and people of partner countries.
One such example is the ongoing construction of 393 kilometres of high voltage (225 kV) double circuit transmission line from Sikasso to Bamako, Mali’s capital city, to Sikasso, the second largest city of Mali and capital of its eponymous and southern-most region. “Sikasso is the greenest region of Mali, its breadbasket and also a gateway to Mali’s neighbouring countries of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Guinea and beyond,” India’s ambassador Anjani Kumar in Mali told Financial Express Online.
The ongoing project is a concrete example of India’s win-win and people-centric partnership with Mali. It is marked by mutual respect, diversity, and care for the future and sustainable development. Most importantly, it is guided by the development priorities of Mali and does not come with any conditions or strings attached.
More about the project
According to Ambassador Anjani Kumar, “This key infrastructure project is India’s biggest Line of Credit (LoC) project in Mali so far. The Government of India, through Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM), had extended a LoC of USD100 million for this major project in Mali. It is expected to be completed later this year (2022).”
“I had the honour to accompany Mr Lamine Seydou Traore, Mali’s Minister of Mines, Energy and Water, to Sido in the Sikasso Region for the formal inauguration of the construction work of this project on 26 October 2020,” he added.
Who is implementing this project?
“This project is being implemented by three leading Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) companies of India – Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited (KPTL), Tata Projects Limited and Mohan Energy Limited. Feedback Infra, one of India’s leading infrastructure services companies, is providing consultancy services for this entire project.”
The project has made progress over the last one year despite multiple logistical challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic, including lack of adequate availability of sea freight, their rising cost and delays in sourcing project-related goods and machinery from India and other places.
“Recently, I visited multiple sites connected with this iconic project to take stock of the progress made so far – Sanankoroba where the foundation work was in progress, Dialakoroba where the stringing work was underway, Sido where the transmission line crosses the Bamako-Sikasso highway and Bougouni which has a large warehouse for the project,” the envoy said.
Mr Anup Kumar Gorji, Vice President & Country Manager of KPTL, and his Indian team are in action in Mali’s countryside. The Indian team includes domain experts drawn from various parts of India. They have long experience of executing such major infrastructure projects in multiple countries, including in Africa. It was equally satisfying to see the Indian team working with commitment and professionalism in unison with their Malian counterparts.
Currently the work is rapidly progressing on all three aspects of the project. While KPTL is erecting over 1100 Transmission Towers and undertaking their wiring along the nearly 400 kms of the project, Tata Project is setting up the sub-stations along the same route and Mohan Energy is involved in building the network of electricity distribution lines for various neighbourhoods and localities identified by the Government of Mali.
How will this project help Mali?
According to Ambassador Kumar, “as the project approaches the capital city of Bamako and the population density increases, some challenges related to availability of the land to execute the project are expected. However, the Government of Mali is fully involved in all aspects of the project and is taking all necessary steps to see that the lands for the project are cleared well in time.”
This iconic infrastructure project is expected to boost further economic, industrial and all-round development in Mali and create new opportunities along the almost 400 kms route connecting two of the biggest cities of Mali.
India has been committed to ‘walk the talk’ by sharing its developmental experiences as well as its technological and technical expertise with fellow developing countries like Mali.
“The ability of Indian EPC companies to deliver world-class infrastructure projects is widely recognised in Mali. Apart from the current project as part of a LoC extended by the Government of India, Indian companies have successfully executed various other projects commissioned by the Malian government and other clients over the last several years. Given Mali’s growing developmental needs and demands placed by its rapidly growing population, leading Indian infrastructure companies can look forward to growing opportunities for win-win partnership with Mali,” the Indian envoy said.