ECOWAS launches work this Tuesday in Niamey on the “North Backbone” electricity interconnection project between Benin/Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria21 Feb, 2022
The President of the Republic of Niger, H.E. Mohamed Bazoum, will this Tuesday, 22 February 2022, at the Gorou Banda transformer station, in Niamey, Niger, kick off work on the electricity interconnection project known as “The North Backbone”, piloted by the ECOWAS Commission, through the West African Power Pool (WAPP). The event will be attended by H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Heads of State and Government of the countries concerned.
The 330kV North Backbone Regional Power Interconnection Project, implemented by WAPP at a total cost of US$568.2 million and involving Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria, is one of the priority projects of the ECOWAS Master Plan for the Development of Regional Power Generation and Transmission Infrastructure 2019-2033. The Master Plan was adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at their 54th Summit held in Abuja on 22 December 2018.
Started in 2019, the North Backbone project, which contributes to the attainment of the regional energy programme by the ECOWAS Commission, will soon enter its operational phase following the official ceremony to launch works this Tuesday 22 February in Niamey. The ceremony is organised by the WAPP Secretariat and placed under the joint patronage of the Heads of State and Government of the four countries concerned, which are all ECOWAS Member States.
On the sidelines of the ceremony to launch the work, the WAPP General Secretariat organised the second meeting of the Joint Ministerial Steering Committee (JMSC) on Monday 21 February at the Mahatma Gandhi Conference Centre in Niamey. The meeting was attended by Ministers of Energy as well as Ministers of Defence and Security of the countries involved in the North Backbone Project, given the difficult security situation in the areas where the line is to be laid out. Honourable Mahamadou Sani Issoufou, Niger’s Minister of Petroleum, Energy and Renewable Energy, who opened the high-level meeting, praised the commitment of the Member States participating in the project, as well as that of ECOWAS, which made this major regional project to become a reality.
“This project is one of ECOWAS’ flagship and integrating programmes because it will (i) facilitate electricity trade in the sub-region and strengthen the regional volume of electricity distribution which is currently low (9%), despite the current interconnection of 9 countries out of 14; (ii) contribute to reducing the deficit in the means of transporting energy and lowering electricity tariff in the region; and (iii) increase the rate of access to electricity, particularly in rural areas, by bringing electricity to over 600 communities (432 in Niger and 179 in Burkina Faso) along the lines to be built. This is a catalyst that will contribute to raising the regional access rate, which is currently 50%. Hence, the need to attach great importance to the construction of the 330KV line and its related works and consider the ways and means to facilitate and secure all the planned works”, stated Sédiko Douka, ECOWAS Commissioner for Mines and Energy, at the opening of the meeting.
According to Mr Siengui A. Ki, WAPP Executive Secretary, who spoke earlier, the North Backbone project marks a further step in WAPP’s activities for the integration of national electricity networks, thus cementing a perfect collaboration between the governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and technical and financial partners such as the French Development Agency (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), the World Bank (WB), the Federal Republic of Nigeria and NEPAD-IPPF.
It should be noted that the North Backbone interconnection project will ultimately facilitate electricity distribution between Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso and will contribute to meeting the electricity needs of the people and national economies in accordance with the national development strategies of the countries concerned and the West African region. These strategies aim to promote universal access to reliable electricity by 2030 for sustainable socio-economic transformation, as well as the strengthening of regional economic integration through the establishment of an electricity market.
It is important to note that the Niamey ministerial meeting was attended by H.E. Liliane Alapini, ECOWAS Resident Representative to Niger, Messrs Bayaornibè Dabire, Arkadius Koumoin and Abdelkader Mahamidou, respectively Director of Energy and Mines, Programme Officer, Energy – Oil & Gas, and Executive Assistant, all of the Department of Mines and Energy at the ECOWAS Commission.