15 February 2010 – Burkina Faso has recently received a $38 million loan from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to improve access to electricity for nearly 800,000 people by 2011. As one of the world’s least developed countries, Burkina Faso is struggling to meet its current energy demands which are now growing at a rate of 10 percent each year.
This new funding from the AfDB will be allocated to the "Electricity Infrastructure Strengthening and Rural Electrification Project" which is a cooperative agreement with the West African Power Pool to connect the country’s electrical grid with those of its neighbors, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. These two countries shall serve as conduits to increase power supply to neighboring land-locked Burkina Faso.
Once the Burkina Faso grid is connected, economic activity should increase and encourage more business development. Partnerships for power sharing are critical to the sustained growth and economic viability of countries like Burkina Faso. As a land-locked country with no fossil fuels for the production of electricity, it would be very difficult to achieve energy sector objectives without the resources harnessed from power pooling.
The social benefits of the program should be visible by 2011. In fact, Sonabel, the state energy provider, is fast-tracking the project to make sure that positive effects will show as quickly as possible. The full cooperation of multiple partners like the government and the West African Power Pool is allowing the process to proceed as planned, and the AfDB is maintaining a supervisory ground presence through the construction and implementation of the new electrical grids. Partnerships such as these will continue to catalyze growth of the power sector in West Africa as regional connectivity paves the road to the development of the region.