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New Turbines Boost Ivory Coast Electricity Production

Ivory Coast Electricity Production Company (CIPREL) is seen during the inauguration ceremony in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Feb. 17, 2016.

Ivory Coast's biggest private electricity producer completed a project on Wednesday that will boost the West African nation's production capacity, consolidating the country's importance as one of the region's major electricity exporters.

Ivory Coast electricity producer Ciprel's steam and heat turbine, the last phase of a $382 million project, in the commercial capital, Abidjan, is expected to boost the company’s total production capacity by about 70 percent to 556 megawatt, a bit more than one quarter of the country’s national production, and thus making Ciprel the country’s biggest independent electricity producer.

During the launch ceremony, Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara expressed his satisfaction, saying the country has neared its goal of reaching 2000 megawatts in production capacity by 2016.

"I’m very proud to tell the Ivorian people that not only do we have more electricity," Ouattara said, "but we also have good-quality electricity to improve everyday’s life of our citizens and also to help neighboring countries."

Ivory Coast is one of the leading electricity exporters in West Africa, supplying neighboring Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.

Adama Toungara, the Ivorian minister of for Oil and Energy, said the nation has been massively investing to increase its electricity production in order to keep up with growing demand.

Toungara said the growing demand in electricity, estimated to be 10 percent annually, and linked to the strong economic growth led Ivory Coast to start several other construction projects regarding electrical infrastructures.

Toungara said the country plans to triple its electricity production capacity by 2030, for an estimated investment of 22 billion dollars, mostly financed by the private sector.

The World Bank says power shortages trim more than two percentage points from annual growth in GDP on average in Africa; in Nigeria the loss has been almost four percentage points a year.