Our key priority for the Sendou project is to get to a satisfactory plan with a credible partner.
If Compagnie d’Electricité du Sénégal SA (CES) attracts new investors, experience in the energy sector and dealing with social and environmental issues are essential. These need to be addressed as soon as possible and should have the same priority as the plant’s refurbishment.
The drinking water impacts, marine impacts, transport and ambient air quality monitoring will need to be in place. We are in continuous dialogue with Senegalese authorities regarding the issues related to the economic displacement impacts on fish-drying women and the compensation to communities regarding disputed land titles. Despite our efforts, we have not yet been successful at achieving the above-mentioned points.
At this moment, the project’s future is unclear. As stated previously, this project has turned out to be one of the most challenging projects in our portfolio. We encountered many problems and should have also done things differently ourselves. We do think the initial goal of the project was a good one. Senegal is in dire need of stable energy supply and frequent energy cuts hamper the Senegalese people and discourage new investment. The power plant could have contributed hugely to the electricity need in Senegal, but only if this is done in an acceptable and responsible way, in which the surrounding communities and the environment is carefully considered. Only under these circumstances is FMO willing to continue with this project.
Sendou is a project which shows that despite our diligence and care, things should have been done differently. These setbacks have taught us valuable lessons that have changed the way we work today. The key Environmental & Social (E&S) items, especially community engagement, should have been considered more carefully during the due diligence phase in 2009 and thereafter. FMO has adopted the latest IFC Performance Standards (2012) and updated its Sustainability Policy, including position statements on Human Rights, Land Governance, and Gender. We have integrated human rights into our due diligence and investment process and we have widened our stakeholder engagement network, gaining more expertise and knowledge about our investments. This enables us to better understand the context in which a project is set. Furthermore, FMO has implemented the practice of publicly disclosing all transactions on our website before contracting (ex ante).