ECOWAS, WORLD BANK hold Coordination Meeting On The ECOWAS Regional Electricity Access Project19 Nov, 2019
Abuja, 18th November 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the World Bank commenced the coordination and supervision meeting of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Access Project (ECOWAS-REAP) on 18th November 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria.
ECOWAS-REAP also known as ECOREAP is a project set up for the benefit of ECOWAS Member States and designed to respond to their short term and medium term needs in order to achieve universal access to electricity.
The First phase of the project which will cost $225 million seeks to strengthen, extend distribution networks and enable cross-border electrification in Guinea Bissau, Mali and The Gambia thereby providing access to electricity to 152,000 households and benefitting approximately 1.1 million Community citizens.
Speaking during the opening session of the meeting, the ECOWAS Commission’s Director for Energy and Mines, Dabire Bayaornibe highlighted that the investments efforts made under the partnership of ECOWAS and the Worlds Bank corroborates their common will to make the energy sector the engine of development in the region.
Underscoring the relevance of the project he stated that “the low rate of access to electricity (less than 40%) in the region, is as a result of the structural difficulties encountered by many national power companies which has resulted in their inability to expand electricity distribution networks in order to increase the number of connections and their customers”.
The Director stated that representatives of Member States of the first phase of the project will give an update on the current state of implementation in their respective countries as well as the challenges being encountered and their proposed solutions.
Representing the World Bank, Pedro Sanchez, lead Energy Specialist, charged the ECOWAS Commission and Member States on the implementation and supervision of the project stating that “it is therefore our responsibility as the entities in charge of its implementation and supervision, to regularly review the progress made and to share the difficulties encountered in order to jointly formulate appropriate proposals for the success of the project.
In the framework of the implementation of the project, a Regional Coordination Unit (RCU) based in the ECOWAS Commission’s Directorate of Energy and Mines was set up as well as a national Project Implementation Unit (PIU) which was established in each of the countries undergoing the first phase of the project.