The Country Director of the Bank, Mr Madani M. Tall, announced this at the official launch of the Bagre Dam Project at Bagre in Burkina Faso, on Thursday.
The Bagre Dam generates hydro electricity power and supplies it through Burkina Faso and beyond. It is also used for irrigation purposes and has supported a large population of the citizens in the area in farming.
Though the country is in the desert zone, the facility is able to empower the people around the dam to produce cassava, maize, rice, banana, plantain, oranges, pawpaw, pepper and other produce, which are consumed locally or exported for foreign exchange.
Mr Tall stated that the seven-year project would lead to the expansion of the dam, farm lands and a lot of road networks opening up to farm centres.
He indicated that the management of World Bank see the Bagre Dam Project as strategically located and when properly developed could empower the people, especially youth.
He said one of the best ways to fight poverty the desert area was to provide the youth with employment and expressed the hope that the project would help serve this purpose.
He impressed upon the Government of Burkina Faso to ensure that the project made a greater impact on the livelihoods of the people and said when properly executed and better results achieved, it would be replicated in other parts of the African continent.
He told the government of Burkina Faso and the management of the Bagre Dam project that the World Bank has more plans to support them with other new projects but the Bagre Dam was the mother of all.
In his address, the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Mr Luc Adolphe Tihao, commended the management of World Bank for the package and said it was the biggest project in Burkina Faso. He said the Government with the private sector would do everything possible to monitor the contractor and to ensure that the project was completed successfully.
He said the project when completed would have a total land mark area of 50,000 hectares and this would provide employment to majority of the people, particularly the youth and women.
The Upper East Deputy Regional Minister, Mrs Lucy Awuni, who led a delegation from the Region to participate in the event, said she was amazed by the positive development of the Bagre Dam Project and noted that though Burkina Faso was a desert country, the farmers in the area were able to cultivate the land for domestic consumption and exports.
She noted that in the Upper East Region, which was not much of a desert like Burkina Faso, the farmers had not been able to do same.
She said this was a challenge to them and entreated the farmers to emulate their Burkinabe counterparts whose lands were worse off.