- The government of Burkina Faso yesterday announced plans to construct an entirely new airport for the capital, Ouagadougou, replacing its outdated and saturated current airport. Construction of the euro 360 million project was to start next year, with the inauguration of the first project phase in 2011, the Ministry of Transport announced yesterday.
Burkinabe Transport Minister Gilbert Noël Ouédraogo yesterday told the national press that the government was planning several large infrastructure projects in the landlocked Sahelian country, including a new international airport and several railways connecting Burkina Faso with neighbouring countries. The Ministry's plans for a new airport however seemed most advanced.
Minister Ouédraogo pointed to the increased traffic on Ouagadougou's current airport, which did not accommodate for further growth. The airport is sized for an annual traffic of up to 250,000 passengers, a number that has been reached during the two last years. Airport facilities are also anything but up to date, failing to meet with Burkinabe aims at boosting tourism.
Ouagadougou International Airport is located only three kilometres from the Burkinabe capital and is the country's principal destination for civilian and military flights, in addition to air cargo. Its runaway is only three kilometres long, limiting the types of aircrafts that can reach Ouagadougou.
The new airport, as presented by Minister Ouédraogo, is to be located in Donsin, some 35 kilometres north-east of the capital. Modern runways of up to seven kilometres were to increase connectivity. Airport facilities would be sufficient to accommodate for up to 1.5 million passengers annually, according to government plans.
The new Donsin airport was to be built in three phases, the first phase running from 2007 to 2011. During that phase, the new airport would become fully operational and opened to passengers. Costs for this phase were estimated at franc CFA 115 billion (euro 175 million).
Later phases, running until 2023, would be less costly and extend the airport and make it fully operational. Total costs for the 16-year project were set at franc CFA 237 billion (euro 360 million). The Transport Minister did not specify how the Burkinabe government planned to finance the large infrastructure project.
Minister Ouédraogo was quoted by Burkina Faso's 'Observateur' as saying that the new airport would strongly benefit the economic development of the country, which would gain much in regional competitiveness. A new airport, which met better with international safety and security requirements, would further help opening up the country to foreign investments and tourism, the government held.
The Burkinabe Transport Minister further presented government plans to revive several projected railway lines that were to connect the country with its neighbours. Currently Burkina Faso has only one railway, connecting it to the port city of Abidjan in Côte d'Ivoire, which has mostly been closed during the last years due to the Ivorian conflict.
To lessen its dependency of Côte d'Ivoire, the Ministry was considering reviving the planned railway connection to Kumasi in Ghana - which is connected to Accra and the coast - that had been archived since the early 1980s. There also existed plans to connect Burkina Faso to the railway from Bamako (Mali) to Dakar (Senegal), connecting Niger's capital Niamey to the Burkinabe network or even constructing a new line to the coast of Togo.
The most advanced plans however were the connections with Ghana and Niger, Minister Ouédraogo had told the press. The Ouagadougou-Kumasi railway connection was estimated to cost around franc CFA 700 billion (euro 1 billion), the Minister revealed.
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