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PRESS RELEASE

WB Supports Electricity Access and Agricultural Diversification in Burkina Faso

June 13, 2014

WASHINGTON, June 13, 2014 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors has approved a total of US $85 million in IDA* financing for Burkina Faso to help expand electricity access to communities, especially in rural areas, and boost growth in agriculture and livestock as part of the country’s development strategy to reduce poverty and improve shared prosperity.

“Despite general political stability and solid macroeconomic management, Burkina Faso hasn’t experienced broad-based private-sector growth or widespread employment creation,” says Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Manager for Burkina Faso. “By improving electricity access, agriculture and livestock productivity, today’s financing approval will help to create more jobs, cut poverty, and improve the lives of families throughout Burkina Faso.”

The funds support the scale up of the Electricity Sector Support Project (ESSP), with an additional US $35 million in IDA* financing (a US $27 million grant and US $8 million credit). The project will help provide electricity access to about 80 additional communities by expanding the electricity grid and installing hybrid mini grids and solar home systems in remote and poor communities. It will also support technical assistance for the country’s national utility, SONABEL, to help update the utility’s strategic plan, and to develop a state-of-the-art system to improve the management of the customer database.

“By expanding efforts to improve energy access and management, this new project will allow the Government to reach an increased number of remote and poor households and will provide people with new opportunities to improve their livelihoods,” says Fatouma Toure Ibrahima World Bank Task Team Leader for the ESSP.

Today’s funds also provide a US $50 million IDA* credit for the ongoing Agricultural Diversification and Market Development Project. The project will support a larger group of emerging market-oriented small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that produce and commercialize mango, onion, cowpea, and sesame, as well as meat from locally raised livestock. The project will also expand small-scale irrigation on 1,900 hectares, and will finance the rehabilitation or construction of cold storage and packing facilities, livestock markets and slaughterhouses, and facilities that provide animal vaccines.

“Burkina Faso’s agriculture-based economy is still dominated by subsistence farming methods that are characterized by low crop and livestock productivity, low but increasing diversification, and limited connections to private agro-pastoral businesses, ” says Nicolas Ahouissoussi, World Bank Task Team Leader for the Agricultural Diversification and Market Development Project. “By boosting the investment in production and commercialization facilities, irrigation, and animal vaccines, today’s financing will help increase productivity, improve market access, and enhance the governance of agro-pastoral value chains, thereby create jobs.”

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PRESS RELEASE NO:
2014/574/AFR