After the one of Kompienga in the South-East of the country and the one of Bagré in the Central-East, Burkina Faso has now got its third biggest dam, the Samandeni dam or the dam of Samandeni. And the Head of State president Roch Marc Christian Kabore himself was there to open the floodgates. Located at a very close distance from the Black Volta River, well known in Burkina Faso as the Mouhoun River, Samandeni is rural town of the Houet Province in the Hauts-Bassins Region. The completion of dam will definitely change development rhythm of that small town which is 395 kilometers far from the capital city Ouagadougou. When considering the potential of hydro-agricultural projects, hydroelectric activities and the possibility of creating the industrial facilities for the transformation of products, we can say that Samendeni has now become a prospective hub of development for the country. The construction works of the dam cost 61 billion 600 million CFA and was funded by financial partners such as the Arab Bank for the Economic Development of Africa, the Islamic Bank of Development, the West African Development Bank, the Abu Dabi Fund for Development, among others and the state of Burkina Faso. The dam has a capacity of 5 billion 5 million cubic meters, a bridge length of 2900 meters and height of 24 meters with a discharge channel that is 1100 meters long. According to the Minister of Water and Sanitation, Mr. Ambroise Ouedraogo, the overall objective of the construction of the dam is to accelerate the mobilisation of water resources to boost the socio-economic and cultural development in the surroundings of the Mouhoun valley. Thus, the program aims at ensuring the growth of the rural sector, strengthening food security, it should be perceived as an Environmental Protection Program planning to develop the agro-industrial and tourism sector in the region. Giving some precision on the expected outcomes of the dam, the minister said: “the dam should contribute to achieving GDP growth of nearly 2%. It is expected to increase national cereal production by almost 3% and create at least 100,000 jobs. The completion of the Samandéni dam has created around 9,500 jobs at this stage and will create more through the forthcoming operationalisation of the other components of the program’’.
President Kabore walking on the bridge of the Samandeni Dam.
In his speech President Kabore declared: "I am proud to inaugurate the dam of Samendeni which has been subject to a 40 years commitment from the state and its partners’’. For the construction of the dam, an amount of 30 billion CFA (50 million USD) has been spent as compensation for the affected population and to also build socio-economic infrastructures in the communities. Mr Abdramane Ouattara, representing the affected populations has thanked the President for the efforts made, but seized the opportunity to make some more requests regarding the finalisation of the agricultural development plans and the realisation of the agro-industrial components to speed up with the processing of products locally, and the creation of jobs for women and the youth. The impoundment of the dam in July 2017 made it possible for fishing activities to start in January 2019. Minister Ouédraogo explained that in only 8 months, this activity has led to the creation of 1,800 jobs, more than 800 tons of fish has been harvested, which resulted to almost 2 billion CFA (3.3 million USD) distributed among all actors involved in the work chain. (fishermen, processors, transports, wholesalers, retailers).
Fishermen in the water of the Samandeni Dam
However the fishing activity in the dam waters is regulated. One should get a fishing permit before undertaking any fishing work for commercial purposes. More than 700 fishing permits have already been issued out to fishermen from Burkina Faso, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire. When acquiring the permits, potential fishermen are orientated on the forbidden practices such as the use of chemicals, smaller nets and dynamites. Sentences for trespassing these laws may go up to 10 years imprisonment.
Belele Eric BAMOUNI
Afrique Media / TV