The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the governments of Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire as part of its new regional energy interconnection program that is designed to strengthen market integration between the two countries and the West African energy sector.
The MOU signings come after MCC signed a cooperative agreement last month with the West African Power Pool (WAPP), a specialized institution of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) that is focused on regional power system integration and realization of a Regional Electricity Market.
“Advancing access to electricity is critical to expanding economic growth across West Africa,” said Siengui A. KI, Secretary General of the West African Power Pool. “For instance, electricity allows businesses to manufacture goods, and it allows students to study into the night, increasing their chances to gain an education. The West African Power Pool is thrilled to be partnering with MCC to explore innovative ways to expand the stability of the West African Power Pool interconnected network.”
As part of this exploration, the WAPP will lead a feasibility study that will assess the viability and socio-economic and environmental impacts of a high voltage transmission line investment connecting Ferkessédougou in northern Côte d’Ivoire with Bobo-Dioulasso in southern Burkina Faso; potentially continuing to Burkina Faso’s capital city – Ouagadougou.
The cooperative agreement with the WAPP is a first-of-its-kind agreement between MCC and a regional institution such as ECOWAS. The agreement comes on the heels of the 2018 African Growth and Opportunity Act and Millennium Challenge Act Modernization Act, which enables MCC to make cross-border regional investments. With this new authority, MCC will be able to do more to facilitate trade and connect regional markets for a larger-scale impact on poverty reduction and growth.
“Developing countries can grow faster, create more jobs, and attract greater investments when they are a part of dynamic regional markets,” said Mahmoud Bah, MCC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer. “Enhancing regional integration will require both building ‘hard’ infrastructure as well as implementing the necessary reforms to harmonize institutional policies and processes that help reduce or eliminate trade barriers.”
MCC provides large grants to developing countries that meet rigorous standards for good governance, from fighting corruption to respecting democratic rights, as evaluated by MCC’s scorecard. MCC takes a business-like approach, with bedrock commitments to data, accountability, and evidence-based decision making.