The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy efficiency (ECREEE) is to hold series of regional meetings in Accra from June 20 to June 27, aimed at paving the way for the provision of sustainable electricity services in West Africa and the Sahel.
These are a follow through with activities embarked upon by the ECREEE under its Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) that seeks to provide reliable electricity services through standalone solar systems for 19 countries in the ECOWAS and Sahel Regions.
The ultimate goal of the ROGEP, which draws funding from the World Bank, is to ensure that peoples in the economic block have access to dependable energy supply, to transform the lives.
ECREEE is involved in an aggressive effort to provide electricity access, recognizing that without availability of modern energy sources, countries in the broader West African region including the Sahel would be trapped in a vicious circle of poverty, social instability and underdevelopment.
These factors tend to hinder the implementation of regional strategies aimed at fostering socio-economic development, attracting foreign investment and providing basic social services for citizens in the region.
The Accra meetings would begin on June 20, with a four-day training workshop that would bring together entrepreneurs from all 19 targeted countries, to strengthen their skills on pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) business models in order to achieve higher uptake in rural areas.
They are part of the 50 selected entrepreneurs that have shown evidence of activities related to the subject of the training.
The activities would continue on June 25, with a networking side-event to promote private sector involvement and cross-fertilization between local small and medium enterprises and international companies.
The focus would be on harnessing private sector participation in standalone and off-grid electrification and facilitating partnership and business development.
More than 30 local companies from all the ECOWAS member states, Mauritania, Chad, Cameroon and Central Africa Republic would participate in the event.
On June 26, and June 27, the second ROGEP regional validation workshop would take place under the auspices of ECREEE.
It would gather a diverse group of stakeholders from all the ECOWAS member states, Mauritania, Chad, Cameroon and Central Africa Republic.
Following the successful launch of the ROGEP initiative at the first regional workshop in Dakar, Senegal last year, ECREEE seeks to leverage on the Accra workshop to apprise Community stakeholders on the outcomes of the first meeting, as the implementation phase of the project is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2019.
The workshop would discuss among other issues, the current situation of preparation of the project, concepts developed so far for each of the components and sub-components of the project, as well as the preliminary findings of the regional market assessment.
ROGEP is estimated to cost US$200 million and would be funded by the World Bank after the successful completion of the preparation phase.
It would cover all 15 ECOWAS member States, and four other non ECOWAS member states including Mauritania, Chad, Central African Republic and Cameroon.