Experts examine the development of the ECOWAS region’s energy sector


CONAKRY (ECOWAS Report)- Guinea’s Minister for Energy, Dr. Cheik Taliby Sylla, represented by Mr. Bandian Doumbouya, commended the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the decision to streamline its policies and strategies to respond to the energy challenges facing its inhabitants.

Speaking in Conakry-Guinea on Thursday 6 December at the opening of the meeting of energy experts from member countries and the sub regional organisation, Mr. Bandian Doumbouya, on behalf of the Minister for Energy, expressed delight at the choice to hold such an important meeting in his country: “… This meeting is an honour for us in more ways than one, as it is being held about a year after our President, Prof. Alpha Conde, was appointed by his peers as Coordinator of the African Electrification Programme.

Mr. Doumbouya also stressed the importance of this meeting, which would enable experts carefully examine all the matters to be submitted to the Energy Ministers of ECOWAS Member Countries, to boost the activities of this important sector, for the well-being of the region’s inhabitants and the development of its economies.

Subsequently, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Energy and Mines, Dr. Morlaye Bangoura, for his part, announced that in West Africa there are 180 million persons still without access to electricity due to the fuel poverty prevalent in the region, with poor access to modern and clean energy, erratic power supply, dependence on the importation of fossil fuels, high cost of electricity charges, unreliable power transmission and distribution infrastructure…

To therefore face the various challenges while boosting the development of the sub-region’s energy sector, Member States, under the auspices of the ECOWAS, have decided to pool efforts in the exploitation of the region’s natural resources and the subsequent supply of low-cost, available and sustainable energy, the Commissioner added.

Dr. Bangoura further mentioned ECOWAS establishment of an institutional governance mechanism with the creation of specialised agencies such as the West African Power Pool (WAPP), the West Africa Gas pipeline Authority (WAGPA), the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulation Authority (ERERA), and the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Efficient Energy (ECREEE) in addition to the Commission’s Department of Energy.

The implementation of this strategy has led to significant achievements including among others, the construction of 862km of interconnection transmission lines and 300 MW of electricity, the electrification of 68 rural border communities between Ghana-Togo, Ghana-Burkina, Ghana-Togo south, Benin-Togo north, Côte d’Ivoire-Liberia, the start of construction of the Information and Coordination Centre for WAPP, which will eventually become the regional operator.

During the meeting, the 2016-2019 business plan of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) will be presented, the status of implementation of the Information and Coordination Centre, update on the progress of the West African rural and semi-urban electrification project, the development of the regional electricity market and the implementation of the directive on its organisation.

Experts in Conakry will also consider the policies and strategies developed to promote renewable energy and efficient energy, including polices on bioenergy and efficient lighting, the integration of gender in energy access and the clean energy initiative for the West African corridor.

The meeting will analyse the status of implementation of the West African gas pipeline extension study, as well as the development of rural and semi-urban electrification in West Africa and the strategy for the actualisation of improved petroleum products’ quality. At the end of the meeting, a set of resolutions coupled with some recommendations, will be submitted to the sub region’s Energy Ministers, with an aim to facilitate access to affordable, available and cost-efficient energy for the inhabitants and to increase investments in the sector.

This important meeting organised by the ECOWAS Energy Directorate and sponsored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), brings together experts from ECOWAS Member States and the relevant Community Agencies and Institutions: ERERA, WAPP, WAGPA and ECREEE.

It is worth noting that the meeting is also being attended by representatives of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), sub-regional institutions (OMVG, TRANSCO CLSG), the Interim Delivery Unit for Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (IDU-AREI), the African Refiners’ Association (ARA), and the African Petroleum Producers’ Association (APPA).