In May 2015, Gowling WLG advised AGES on the drafting of a series of project documents to support a landmark renewable project in Sierra Leone.
The project was part of Sierra Leone's strategy to use renewables to help overcome its massive power shortage. The scheme will see the creation of an up to 20MW solar farm to serve the cities of Bo and Kenema.
Gowling WLG's work on the project began in 2014, when it was tasked negotiating and drafting a series of project documents over the course of a year, including power purchase and implementation agreements. Advice was also provided on corporate structuring issues for AGES.
In May 2015, the Government of Sierra Leone formally approved and ratified those documents, which form the basis of the contracts for the development of the solar farm.
A cross-office team from the UK and Dubai, the project was led by partners Gareth Baker and Jonathan Brufal, ably assisted by senior associate Tom Gray (Dubai).
Jonathan and Tom visited Sierra Leone from Dubai to negotiate the project with Government officials, including from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and the Ministry of Energy. The team also liaised closely with local counsel in Sierra Leone to best understand the Government's needs and the economic situation.
Albert Smith, director of international business development at AGES, said: "We are very grateful to the team at Gowling WLG for its support in moving this deal forward. AGES first spoke to Jonathan and Tom at the very outset of the project and they, along with other lawyers in the firm, have made an invaluable contribution towards getting the deal to where it is today. Hopefully we will work together in the future on similar projects."
The team has since been involved in further work with AGES in Cameroon - they are working on a mini hydro plant in the south west region, and the development of a concession agreement to solarise a number of telephone masts in rural areas.