Economy

the electricity grid reaches rural areas


In Toullakro, the arrival of electricity changed everything. In this village located 140 km north of the Ivorian capital, Clémentine Konan was able to create a fish shop. “It makes a big difference: the village is lit up at night and I was able to buy a freezer and trade. » His village has about fifty houses, simple wooden or earthen huts covered with a corrugated iron roof or a plastic sheet for the poorest. The hens run in the laterite streets. Around, the forest gives way in places to rice fields or cocoa trees.

In the neighboring village of Dibykro, connected at the same time, Bernard Kwakanjou says: “We will be able to install a machine to hull the rice. For the moment, we have to send the rice to Tiassalé, so that it can be husked there. » The operation which consists of cleaning the envelope surrounding the grains costs him 30 CFA francs per kilo (8 euro cents). And the kilo is then paid for 500 francs (80 cents) by the sellers of the Abidjan market. With a shelling machine, he will be able to earn more. The electric wire that runs on the new concrete poles going to the village will therefore allow the planters of Dibykro to improve their income…

78% of the country is already electrified

And this is indeed the goal of Côte d’Ivoire: it has launched a major national plan for the electrification of rural areas in order to help them get out of poverty. It plans to connect the entire territory to the network by 2025. Today, 78% of municipalities are already covered, which is above the average in West Africa (56%). But the last steps to take are now the most difficult.

Côte d’Ivoire must first increase its electricity production. “Today, demand is increasing by 8 to 9% per year. We will be able to produce more thanks to new dams, financed by Chinese loans,” explains Noumory Sidibé, director of Côte d’Ivoire-Energies, the state company that develops infrastructure, then entrusted to private operators via a concession contract.

“Currently 30% of our electricity is of renewable origin, but we will increase to 45% in 2030”, he points out. The length of high-voltage lines in the country has increased from 4,000 km in 2011 to 7,000 km today.

Connection fees, a barrier to overcome

But creating these new capacities is not enough. In rural areas, even if electricity is there, only 29% of households manage to subscribe because the connection is expensive: individuals have to pay for the last meters of cable to connect to the network and the meter. It can cost around €300.

To increase the rate of subscribers, the Ivorian State has therefore set up, thanks to a loan of 83 million euros from the French Development Agency (AFD) and the European Union, a spreading of costs over ten years. “Thanks to this funding, we will be able to make 250,000 connections this year and as many next year”, explains Coulibaly Sounkalo, coordinator of the “electricity for all” program within Côte d’Ivoire-Energies.

In Toullakro, Koffi Kovadio, a cocoa farmer who benefited, explains: “Today, I pay 1,000 CFA francs per month (€1.50). It’s much cheaper than the solar panel I used to rent, which cost me 11,000 francs (€17). » At home, this father of 12 children has “TV, light and ice water”he rejoices.

A public service based on decentralized mini-grids

To electrify Dibykro, the Ivorian State has opted for a small solar power plant, also financed by AFD. “We have chosen this decentralized mini-network, while keeping a public service approach”, explains Moulaye Mouhameidou, of Expertise France, the branch of AFD that helped in its realization.

The plant operates using 300 solar panels, as well as batteries to deliver the day’s production in the evening. It cost €400,000 to build. It supplies electricity to 200 families. Seventeen Ivorian localities should be electrified with mini-solar or biomass power plants of the same type, thus supplying electricity to 10,000 Ivorians.

Today, the Dibykro mini-grid operates autonomously. It serves two villages. A generator, coupled to the power plant, makes it possible to cover any peaks in consumption. Ultimately, all mini-power plants must be connected to the national grid, so as to make the best use of production.

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Development banks united for the climate

Public development banks can be key players in raising the 100 billion dollars a year promised for the adaptation of countries in the South to the consequences of global warming. A few weeks before COP27, this is the message they wanted to convey in Abidjan, from October 18 to 20, on the occasion of the Finance in Common summit, organized by the EIB (European Investment Bank) and AfDB (African Development Bank).

There are more than 500 public banks in the world. Their annual commitments represent 12% of all global investments. Finance en commun is a coalition that invites these public banks to align themselves with the objectives of the Paris agreement, and to “green” their financing.



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