BURKINA FASO – The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced EUR 38.5 million (US$46.6m) in debt for a project that will lift by a third the power generation capacity of a 37-MW solar park in Burkina Faso.

The photovoltaic (PV) park is being operated by Burkina Faso’s national electric utility Sonabel, the lender said.

The utility has committed to invest EUR 70.5 million (US$85.39m) in an expansion scheme that aims to raise the capacity of the plant to 50 MW and thus help it response to the 10% annual increase in power demand. The project will also back Sonabel’s efforts to lower the need for electricity imports.

According to the EIB, the electricity supply in Burkina Faso is currently restricted by the limited interconnector capacity used to import power from southwestern neighbor Cote d’Ivoire.

“New investment to Improve access to energy and better protect against climate change is essential for social and economic progress in Burkina Faso, the Sahel and Africa,” said M. Lassané Kaboré, Minister of the economy, finance and development of Burkino Faso.

“The European Investment Bank has been a key partner for Burkina Faso for more than 50 years providing financial support and sharing unique global technical expertise for priority investment in our country.”

The EIB backing will help expand the capacity of the plant from 37 MW today to 50 MW. Electricity supply in Burkina Faso is currently restricted by the limited interconnector capacity used to import power from Cote d’Ivoire.

“The European Investment Bank has supported long-term investment in Burkina Faso since 1970 and is committed to strengthening economic opportunities, supporting sustainable development and accelerating climate action across the Sahel,” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.

“As the EU climate bank and a member of Team Europe, the EIB is pleased to back Sonabel’s first solar power plant that will transform renewable energy generation in Burkina Faso and to support investment to better protect thousands of people in Ouagadougou from floods.

“Cooperation between Burkinabé partners and AFD, the European Union and the EIB is unlocking priority investment that highlights the social, economic and public health impact of climate action in Africa.”

The EIB supports renewable energy projects worldwide and will provide EUR 38.5 million (US$46.6m) to the solar power plant operated by national electricity authority Sonabel.

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