(Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast raised $493 million to pay back debts that its power utility owed to electricity suppliers.

The West African nation secured a 300 million euros ($335 million) loan from Deutsche Bank AG while NSIA Banque and the local unit of Societe Generale SA offered a further 95 billion CFA francs ($158 million) in finance, Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energies Abdourahmane Cisse said in an interview.

The facilities are earmarked for debt owed by state-owned CI Energies to private operators of gas-fired plants, including Ciprel, Azito Energy Co. and a unit of Aggreko Plc, said Cisse. The loans are repayable over 12 years at a rate of less than 6% while the World Bank will guarantee the debt, he said.

Last year, the World Bank said a buildup of short-term debt in the power sector is a risk to attracting investment that will maintain Ivory Coast’s status as one of the region’s largest electricity exporters. The debts rose rapidly after collections from local and regional customers fell sharply in 2016, while the depreciation of the currency resulted in higher gas costs.

To contact the reporter on this story: Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan at bmieu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andre Janse van Vuuren at ajansevanvuu@bloomberg.net, Rene Vollgraaff

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