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European Investment Bank backs large West African solar project

Once operational, the new solar plant will significantly increase power generation in Burkina Faso.

The European Investment Bank has agreed to provide EUR 23 million to support investment in one of the largest photovoltaic power stations in sub-Saharan Africa. The 30 MW, EUR 70.5 million scheme will be constructed at Zagtouli on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, and will be operated by national electricity utility, SONABEL.

Not only will the new solar plant greatly increase power generation in Burkina Faso, but it also aims to reduce dependence on energy imports from Ivory Coast and Ghana, while helping to prevent power cuts.1 The new plant is expected to act as a reference for future solar investment across the continent.

The 20 year-loan agreement for the 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. Jean-Christophe Ilboudo, Director General of Sonabel, and Frederic Korsaga, Ambassador of Burkina Faso to Luxembourg, were also present.

“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," said  Lucien Bembamba, Minister of Economy and Finance for the Republic of Burkina Faso. "The new support agreed for investment by Sonabel in renewable energy is an important milestone in the long-standing cooperation between Burkina Faso and Europe.” 

Pim van Ballekom agreed, adding that electricity is essential for economic activity in the region. "The European Investment Bank is committed to supporting energy investment that will improve lives across Africa. Burkina Faso can be proud to host the new facility that will act as a benchmark for renewable energy in West Africa."


  1. It is estimated that less than a quarter of Burkina Faso's inhabitants have access to electricity. In recent years power demand in the country has increased annually by 10 per cent; however, power cuts and limited electricity access have seriously hindered economic growth.

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Energy efficiency  •  Energy infrastructure  •  Policy, investment and markets  •  Solar electricity