Bringing a little light to rural Mali

electricity in Mali

electricity in Mali

A growing number of people in the West African country of Mali are finally getting electricity under a national energy project. In a country where only 24 percent of Malians had access to electricity, it’s now reaching more rural homes. In Seribala, an agricultural town at the center of the country, a power plant has been set up which provides electricity for 12 hours every day and supporting local businesses. Jocelyne Sambira has more:

SFX woman cooking in dark

NARRATOR: It’s dinner time in Seribala, central Mali where Maimouna owns a small restaurant.

Although it’s dark out, she is still working. Until recently, she only served breakfast and lunch.

“It has changed a lot to have electricity. Before, I needed a generator and it was expensive to pay for its fuel. I use the electricity also in the daytime for the fridge.”

NARRATOR: Business has picked up ever since Maimouna received electricity from a nearby power station.

“It is not even comparable to before. Now I work at night and also in the daytime I can sell cold drinks so I am selling more now than before.”

NARRATOR: Only 24 percent of Mali’s population has access to electricity. That rate is even lower in rural areas like Seribala, where only about 13 percent of people have access.

A national energy project, supported by the World Bank, is trying to reverse this trend. It pays local private sector companies to provide electricity to small towns, like the one in Seribala.

Amadou Drame is a shop owner whose business is also flourishing under the change.

“We are happy. Even if the bill is sometimes expensive, I do all I can to pay and if there is a problem, the company comes and fixes it immediately.”

NARRATOR: Since getting electricity, Amadou is able to care for his two wives and 11 children.

The energy project funds almost 50 private companies to manage power stations across the country. The stations provide power to 650,000 people.

Kibili Demba is the Administrator, Seribala Power Station:

“All development depends on electricity. We can’t progress in obscurity. The people were in obscurity before we came. Now the city is doing well.”

NARRATOR: Many [people] in Mali appreciate the steady electric supply.

Not only is it good for business, but the lighting on the streets and in homes is helping people to feel safe. It’s also contributing to the improvement of life in this small corner of Mali.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.
duration: 2’28″

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December 2017
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