Ethiopia signs deal for largest wind farm in Africa

Ethiopia on Thursday signed a 220-million-euro (300 million dollar) deal with a French company for the construction of Africa's largest wind farm.

The contract was inked by representatives of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPC) and French wind turbine manufacturer Vergnet.

The wind farm is expected to produce 120 megawatts within two and half years, making it the largest such project on the continent.

"This is a very strategic project for us. The first (largest) in Africa for wind energy production with 120 megawatts, that is to say 15 percent of our present capacity," EEPC chairman Meheret Debebe said.

"This project will help us to fill the gap of hydrological risks we are facing in Ethiopia with the droughts," he explained.

Ethiopia has been chronically hit by droughts, affecting the humanitarian plight of millions as well as crippling its electricity production, which is heavily reliant on hydroelectric dams.

The landlocked Horn of Africa country -- Africa's second most populous -- is currently experiencing a severe drought and has been plagued by incessant power cuts in recent months.

"This contract is a very important one cause with a budget in excess of 200 million euros it will be the largest wind farm in Africa," French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Anne-Marie Idrac said at the signing ceremony.

"It is also very symbolic of France's commitment to developping renewable energies," she added.

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