ECOWAS inaugurates regional off-grid project to boost electricity


The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission on Thursday inaugurated a Regional Off-Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP) .The project is  to boost electricity for households, commercial enterprises, public institutions and for productive use.

Nigerian NewsDirect reports that ROGEAP is to be carried out through stand-alone solar photovoltaic systems in West Africa and four countries of the Sahel regions.

At the inauguration of the project and a workshop in Abuja, the Minster of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu, said that the ROGEAP project had been designed to provide solutions to improve the living conditions of the populace.

The Minister, who was represented by Mr Ali-Dapshima Abubakar, Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access,  Ministry of Power, said renewable energy was locally available and could be used for heating purposes and supply of electricity.

“It helps to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, enhance national energy security, reduce oil import bills, thereby reducing poverty,” he said.

Aliyu, however, said that the Ministry had in the past collaborated with ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) which is an agency of the commission on implementation of the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) project since 2017.

“ROGEP as conceived providing developers with soft loans funded by the World Bank.

“The loans are to be issued by World Bank through intermediary banks and the interest to be borne by the project developers.

“Government is required to guarantee the payment of energy provided in essential sectors such as public health centres and public schools only,” he said.

According to him, though the project had considerable achievement, it was halted due to the expiration of the effectiveness period.

“The ECOWAS Commission is inaugurating ROGEP project under a new name ROGEAP to increase access to electricity for households, commercial enterprises, public institutions.

“And for productive uses, through stand-alone solar photovoltaic systems, in West Africa and four countries of the Sahel regions,” he said.

Speaking earlier, the representative of ECOWAS and Conseiller Principal, El hadji Sylla, highlighted the importance of energy in achieving sustainable development. and poverty reduction in regions.

Sylla said that energy could be achieved, using modern stand-alone sola technology through a harmonised regional approach.

He said the project had two main components which were development of a regional market for off–grid solar Photovoltaics (PV) system and access to finance.

“The project is expected to support member states to set a favourable framework to develop the solar off-grid market and to promote private sector participation.”

Nigerian NewsDirect reports that the workshop had in attendance participants from government and related agencies, the private sector, financial institutions.

Others are development partners, technical partners, Civil Society Organizations and the Media, expected to validate the workshop report.