On 18 March 2016 the Prime Minister, H.E. Daniel Kablan Duncan, and the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Mr Ambroise Fayolle, announced the provision of a EUR 117m loan by the European Union's bank to support the development of the ENERGOS project in Côte d’Ivoire.

The signing ceremony took place at the Prime Minister's Office in the presence of a number of Government members: Mr Adama Kone, Minister of the Economy and Finance, Mr Adama Toungara, Energy Minister, Mr Abdourahmane Cissé, Budget Minister, Mr Patrick Achi, Minister for Economic Infrastructure and Mr Abdallah Albert Toikeusse Mabri, Foreign Affairs Minister. Also in attendance was EU Ambassador Mr Jean-François Valette.

The EU loan of EUR 117m will serve to support the development of the ENERGOS project centred on the rehabilitation and extension of the energy networks in the cities of Bouaké, San Pedro and Abidjan and the creation of a new national dispatching centre in Yamoussoukro. Particular attention will be paid to the energy efficiency of public lighting. This large-scale project, which is also being supported by the European Commission (EUR 70m grant) and the WADB (EUR 52m loan), will help to widen the population's access to the power grid: over 100 000 new customers will be connected whilst more than 200 000 other customers will have their connections improved.

This project forms part of and is consistent with the Côte d’Ivoire authorities' development plans. On 13 November 2015 at the ceremony to launch the national programme for rural electrification in the Districts of Comoe and Zanzan, the Prime Minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, reiterated its special significance: "We are all aware that energy in general, and electricity in particular, are key pillars of any sustainable social and economic development that is of real benefit to the people. Côte d’Ivoire, which aims to become an "emerging country by 2020", cannot therefore neglect this strategic sector."

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said: "This is a key financing operation for Côte d’Ivoire which will have a strong social and economic impact. Access to a clean, modern, competitive energy service is one of our priorities in the field of sustainable development because it also provides each citizen with optimal living and working conditions. I am very honoured to announce this financing operation on the occasion of my first official visit to Côte d’Ivoire as EIB Vice-President. The headquarters agreement signed today reflects the partnership of trust that has been established between the EIB and Côte d’Ivoire, which will result in increased activities, especially in the areas of sustainable infrastructure and private sector support."

During his official visit, the Vice-President signed the conclusion of the headquarters agreement between the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and the EIB, an important step on the road to opening the Bank's representative office in Abidjan. This headquarters agreement will very quickly enable the EIB, in close cooperation with its partners, to step up its lending, guarantee and equity participation operations in the region and in Côte d’Ivoire in particular, and to strengthen its cooperation with the African Development Bank (AfDB).

At the signing ceremony, the EIB Vice-President also mentioned the Bank's pledge to dedicate 35% of its activities to climate action.

This first official visit by the EIB Vice-President to Côte d’Ivoire since he took office in February 2015 demonstrates the Bank's commitment to playing a bigger role in West Africa. Since 2010, the EIB has lent EUR 1.45bn for 39 concrete projects in 16 West African countries to support growth and job creation in key sectors of the economy such as energy, water, SMEs, microfinance and sustainable transport. The energy sector is at the heart of the EIB's activities in both North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, with more than EUR 4bn invested over the past five years.