Sinohydro Corporation is a major Chinese engineering firm, which builds large scale hydropower projects, as well as commercial and residential property. The Company is a major player across the African continent, where the company''s construction of dams has been perceived as "powerplant diplomacy" by Beijing, an attempt to gain control of natural resources and to gain favour with country leaders. An alternative view is that the company build the dams at better terms than their competitors.
The Memeve 'ele Dam in Southern Cameroon was originally to be built by Sud Energie, with financing from Globebeq, a British private equity outfit. However, the Cameroonian Government decided that the Build operate, Own and Transfer (BOOT) agreement governing the dam, was too long a time to wait for ownership to pass to the Douala Government (20 years), as negotiations between Globebeq, Sud Energie and the Government broke down and in 2009, Sinohydro stepped in to build the dam, the 200 MW project is expected to be finished in 2014. The funding,( around $814 million) of the dam is being provided by EXIM Bank. The Dam is being built near the Campo national park close to the border with Equatorial Guinea, and help meet Cameroon's rapidly growing energy demand.
Sinohydro and EXIM Bank have previously collaborated in a massive, complex deal in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC, EXIM provided a loan of $6 billion for Sinohydro to build infrastructure, including dams, housing, hospital and power plants. The deal was originally agreed in 2007, and implementation started in 2009, the deal was done in the face of opposition from the IMF, who objected to the increased debt burden that will be placed on the country, as well as giving China preferred creditor status. The loans are backed by the DRC's rich mineral deposits.