WEST AFRICA: US investor MCC supports energy integration

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WEST AFRICA: US investor MCC supports energy integration©Jananz/Shutterstock

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the governments of Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso for the integration of the energy market of the two West African countries. MCC is thus supporting the initiatives of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

After the European Investment Bank (EIB) a few months ago, it is now the turn of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to support energy market integration in West Africa. This US government agency has just signed a memorandum of understanding with the governments of Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast. The aim is to integrate these two West African countries into its new regional energy interconnection programme.

This commitment to Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast follows a first agreement signed with the West African Power Pool (WAPP). The objective of this institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is to integrate national electricity networks into a unified regional electricity market. As part of the agreement, WAPP will lead a feasibility study that will assess the viability and socio-economic and environmental impacts of investing in a high-voltage transmission line linking Ferkessédougou in northern Ivory Coast to Bobo-Dioulasso in southern Burkina Faso, with the potential to extend to Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou.

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“Strengthening regional integration will require both the construction of ‘hard’ infrastructure and the implementation of reforms needed to harmonise institutional policies and processes that help reduce or eliminate trade barriers,” explains Mahmoud Bah, MCC’s acting executive director.

According to the US financial institution, the partnership agreement with WAPP is the first of its kind between MCC and a sub-regional institution such as ECOWAS. Furthermore, the agreement comes on the heels of the US African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2018 and the Millennium Challenge Act Modernization Act, which allows MCC to make cross-border regional investments.

Jean Marie Takouleu

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