The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has restated its commitment to energy cooperation in the region.
The President of the Commission H.E Jean-Claude Kassi Brou gave this commitment at the 14th Session of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) General Assembly on the 8th of November 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
President Brou who was represented by the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Energy and Mines Mr. Sediko Douka, maintained that the vision by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government to establish the West African Electricity Exchange System in 2006, was meant to integrate national electricity systems into a unified regional market to enable the populations of the region have access to quality energy at a lower cost.
Speaking on the theme of the 14th Session-ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market: Current and Future Opportunities, President Brou commended the Assembly’s spirit of openness and cooperation shown in the discussions to solve common problems, describing it as “key to success on the road to lifting the population out of energy poverty”
He maintained that to ensure the sustainability of the immense achievements, stakeholders will have to work even harder to control costs, improve finances with innovative solutions to the identified challenges.
Lamenting that electrification in ECOWAS countries is one of the lowest compared to the world average, President Brou stressed that access to electricity is an essential factor in poverty reduction and sustainable development.
According to him, the impressive manner of the conduct of the WAPP General Assembly Meeting, reflects the importance attached to regional institution and the unwavering support for the implementation of the ECOWAS Member States’ Energy Programme.
WAPP, he continued acts as a catalyst in the development of interconnections and the establishment of the institutional and regulatory framework for the regional electricity market.
In this regard President Brou stressed: “The viability and sustainability of the market depends on securing payment for electricity exchanges. It is therefore important that everyone can work on it. The ECOWAS Commission will spare no effort to support you”.
Welcoming members of the General Assembly to the session, the Secretary-General of WAPP Mr. Siengui Ki highlighted some of the implemented priority projects in the regional electricity market through the ECOWAS Master Plan.
Enthusing that the interconnection of all ECOWAS mainland countries will take place in the year 2020, he buttressed his assertion by sighting the high pace of work in the construction of the Cote d’Ivoire-Liberia-Sierra Leone-Guinea interconnection line.
Also called forth was the construction of the loop to interconnect Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Senegal and The Gambia among others.
Nigeria’s Minister of Power Engr Saleh Mamman, the Chief Executive Officer of Mainstream Energy Solutions Engr Lamu Audu, the Chairman of WAPP Executive Board Mr. Usma Gur Mohammed as well as representatives of technical and financial partners gave goodwill messages reaffirming the need for collective efforts in meeting the energy challenges of the region.
The 14th session of WAPP General Assembly meeting is expected, among others, to establish the National Committee of the International Council of Large Electric Networks of West Africa with corresponding signature of statutes.