India's National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has bagged the Project Management Consultancy (PMC) contract for the development of 500 Mega Watt Solar Park in Mali as a private investment initiative of International Solar Alliance (ISA).
India’s National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has bagged the Project Management Consultancy (PMC) contract for the development of 500 Mega Watt Solar Park in Mali as a private investment initiative of International Solar Alliance (ISA). Confirming this to Financial Express Online, India’s ambassador to Mali, Anjani Kumar, said, “Given India’s own massive push towards cleaner and greener energy and its global leadership through International Solar Alliance, there is growing synergy between India’s expertise and the stated policy and needs of Mali regarding solar and other forms of clean energy.”
“This convergence provides huge potential for closer cooperation for mutual benefit between India, Mali and other countries of West Africa. The recent policy decisions taken by the Government of Mali to exempt VAT and import taxes on equipment such as solar panels, wind turbine blades, pump turbines etc. can be explored by Indian business for solar and other renewable energy projects in Mali,” Ambassador Kumar added.
Mali is a landlocked country in the Sahel region of West Africa with a population of about 20 million. With an area of 1,241,248 square kilometres, it is the 8th largest country in Africa which is about 1/3rd the size of India. About 65% of its area is covered by the great Sahara Desert and arid landscape. And, has excellent potential for the development of solar energy projects to meet its growing energy needs. As per the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mali’s estimated solar irradiation is well distributed across the country with the prospect of generating about 5-7/kWh/m2 per day with about 7 to 10 hours of sunlight a day. This is regarded to be well above the typical global average of 4-5/kWh/m2 per day.
In an interaction with Financial Express Online, India’s envoy to Mali Anjani Kumar said, “India’s commitment to south-south cooperation is reflected in its India’s strong friendship and cooperation with Mali. Apart from cooperation in the field of solar energy, it has been contributing towards capacity building, training, education, development of power transmission lines, agriculture, food processing etc. under the concessional lines of credit (LOC).”
“There is a greater scope for expanding mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Mali. Indian tractors are very popular in Mali and there is a tractor plant on the outskirts of Bamako which assembles and sells Mahindra tractors and other agricultural equipment. Mali is one of the largest producers of Gold and Cotton in Africa and is rich in other natural resources as well. In addition to the areas of ongoing cooperation, there is immense potential for cooperation in the fields of IT-enabled services, health, pharmaceuticals, railways and transport, agriculture, food processing etc,” said the envoy.
According to Ambassador Kumar “The Indian community in Mali is well integrated into Malian society and work closely with their Malian counterparts in diverse fields – commercial vehicles, pharmaceuticals, white goods, textiles and cotton fabrics, rice, bore-wells, machinery for extracting oils, Arabic gum etc.”
India and Mali are committed to expanding their cooperation in solar energy. Mali is one of the countries which signed the ISA Framework Agreement in Marrakesh on 15 November 2016, within 41 days of finalizing the text of the agreement. And has also ratified the ISA Framework Agreement. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali had participated in the Founding Conference of International Solar Alliance held in India in March 2018.
Mali’s National Action Plan for Renewable Energies (PANER) aims to increase the installed capacity of renewable energies to about 1.42 GW by 2030 which is about nine times its current installed capacity in 2010. And the country aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the national electricity mix to 25% by 2033. As per International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), it only had 20 MW of cumulative installed solar capacity by the end of 2019.
It is interesting to note that in October-November 2019, India offered two Solar Projects worth US$ 60.65 for setting up of sustainable village and use of solar Photo-Voltaic Technology for irrigation of 2500 hectares of agricultural land and US$22 Million for a 50 MW Solar Photo-voltaic Power Plant at Fana, about 125 kms east of Bamako in Koulikoro Region. Work is underway to complete the formalities for their operationalization.
In March this year, external affairs Minister S Jaishankar had a telephone talk with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Mali Tiebile Drame on 25 March 2020 during which they discussed, among other matters, cooperation in Health, Security and Solar Energy.
An MoU on Mali’s Participation in the e-VBAB Network Project (e-ArogyaBharati Network Project for telemedicine and tele-education in Africa) was also signed last year in Delhi. “Currently, we are working on implementing this project which will help in long-distance education in numerous fields, including health,” Ambassador Kumar said.
Mali is one of the beneficiaries of the Duty-Free Trade Preference Scheme enjoying zero duty on nearly 95% of its exports to India. India has extended Lines of Credit of total value $ 353.6 million for various developmental projects including in power sector in Mali.