Black Stars Risk Blackout for Games as Ivory Coast Favors Needs

Jun 12, 2014 11:43 am ET

June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Ivory Coast said it will probably only supply its neighbor Ghana with half of the electricity requested to ensure that fans of the national team, known as the Black Stars, don’t face blackouts during the World Cup.

President Alassane Ouattara will make the final decision regarding Ghana’s request for 50 megawatts, Ivory Coast Energy Minister Adama Toungara said. Ben Dotsei Malor, a spokesman for Ghana President John Dramani Mahama, didn’t immediately comment when reached by phone.

Ghana asked the nation’s largest aluminum smelter to cut electricity consumption and homeowners to unplug appliances during the Black Stars’ matches to make sure that planned outages don’t prevent citizens from watching games. Ghana will probably ration power through next year because of a shortage of natural gas and low water levels at hydroelectric plants.

The West African nation of 24 million people was knocked out of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when it lost to Uruguay in the quarterfinals. Ghana plays the U.S. on June 16 in Natal, Brazil. The host nation opens the tournament today in Sao Paulo against Croatia.

Ghana, the world’s second-largest cocoa producer, generates about 2,000 megawatts from a capacity of 2,800 megawatts, according to the Volta River Authority, the nation’s largest supplier. Ivory Coast, the world’s largest producer of the chocolate ingredient, sells excess electricity to neighbors including Ghana and Burkina Faso.

The Black Stars moved up one step to 37th in FIFA’s June 5 rankings. The team wants to advance beyond the quarterfinals this year, Kudjoe Fianoo, executive committee member of the Ghana Football Association, said in an interview in Sao Paulo yesterday. The Ivory Coast’s national team is known as Les Elephants and is ranked 23rd on FIFA’s list, a spot behind Algeria, the highest ranked African team.

--With assistance from Pauline Bax in Accra.