EIB to provide support for West African solar project

The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide €23 million to support investment in one of the largest photovoltaic power stations in sub-Saharan Africa.


The €70.5 million scheme will be constructed at Zagtouli on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso and operated by national electricity utility, SONABEL. The new plant is expected to act as a reference for future solar investment across the continent.
Once operational the new solar plant will significantly increase power generation in Burkina Faso, reduce dependence on energy imports from Ivory Coast and Ghana and help prevent power cuts. It is estimated that less than a quarter of the country’s inhabitants have access to electricity. In recent years power demand in the country has increased annually by 10 percent, however power cuts and limited electricity access have seriously hindered economic growth.
The 20 year loan agreement for the 30 megawatt facility, to be built outside the capital Ouagadougou, was signed at the European Investment Bank headquarters by Lucien Bembamba, Minister of Economy and Finance for the Republic of Burkina Faso and Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for lending in Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific. 
“Renewable energy is an importance milestone”
“The European Investment Bank is a strong partner for Burkina Faso and this close cooperation over many years has enabled significant investment in new water and energy infrastructure that has created jobs across the country. The new support agreed today for investment by Sonabel in renewable energy is an importance milestone in the long-standing cooperation between Burkina Faso and Europe.” said Lucien Bembamba.
“Electricity is essential for economic activity and the European Investment Bank is committed to supporting energy investment that will improve lives across Africa. The significant support for the new solar farm builds on our strong partnership over many years with Sonabel. Burkina Faso can be proud to host the new facility that will act as a benchmark for renewable energy in West Africa.” said Pim van Ballekom.
Agreement for financing the solar project follows detailed feasibility studies to evaluate local energy needs and strengthen project implementation supported by the European Union. The European Union Delegation in Ouagadougou has supported the project since the start and worked closely with promoter SONABEL. Alongside the EIB, financing will also be provided by the French Development Agency and European Union and over a hundred jobs will be created during construction of the solar plant.
The European Investment Bank is one of the world’s largest financiers of renewable energy and energy infrastructure. In recent years the EIB has supported rehabilitation of power plants in Liberia, electricity interconnections across West Africa, concentrated solar power in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa’s largest wind farm in Lake Turkana in Kenya.


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