29 September 2017

Togo and Benin Pin Energy Hopes On Controversial Dam

analysis

The embattled Adjarala dam project has been in the works for over a decade, but many locals still don't have power. By KOSSI ELOM BALAO.

Tonin Emmanuel works as an engineering office manager in Anié, a village near the centre of Togo. In May, a power blackout plunged nearly his entire neighbourhood into darkness for over a month.

"Because we do not have electricity we can't keep up with what's happening. I feel like I've been isolated from the rest of the world," he says, adding that it's affecting his business. "To charge my phone battery I must walk a few kilometres to go to a friend's house which has electricity."

When he finally checks his phone, he has missed calls -- often related to work. "I lose money to feed my family because of the lack of power," Emmanuel says.

The lack of power is a big problem in Togo and Benin, two small countries in West Africa. Rural access to electricity in both countries is about 16% and the level of poverty is high. Without substantial infrastructure, they import more than 80% of their electricity from neighbouring countries like Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria. But that dependence could...

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