Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) departed yesterday for Burkina Faso, where he will attend the inauguration on Dec. 20 of President Blaise Compaore on behalf of President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).
Wu will be the first Taiwan premier to visit the West African ally since the two countries resumed diplomatic ties in 1994. It is also Wu’s first overseas trip in his capacity as premier.
During his one-week stay in Burkina Faso, Wu will visit a new national hospital that was constructed with a loan from a Taiwan bank and guaranteed by the Taiwan government. The national hospital is scheduled to open next year.
Wu is heading an 18-member delegation that includes Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添), Minister of the Council of Labor Affairs Jennifer Wang (王如玄) and Tao Wen-lung (陶文隆), secretary general of the government--operated International Cooperation and Development Fund.
Earlier in the day, in his last public activity in Taipei before his departure, Wu spoke of Taiwan’s “One Lamp in Africa” program, which aims to bring light to the homes of disadvantaged Burkina Faso students.
Wu said many students in that country are forced to study on the streets at night by the light of street lamps because they do not have lights at home.
Under the program, Taiwan has developed a solar-powered LED lamp equipped with a solar cell that lasts up to 4.5 hours and allows students to study at home, Wu said.
The children can charge the solar cell during the day and bring it home after school, he added.
The program is being supported by the World Bank, which has placed orders with Taiwanese businesses for the LED lamps for delivery as aid to African countries, Wu said.