Towards Energy Sufficiency

Diop (middle), listening to Kappiah (left) with Ejime
Diop (middle), listening to Kappiah (left) with Ejime

In order to exploit the abundant energy resources in the region, ECOWAS has set up a Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Cape Verde

|  By Maureen Chigbo  |  Feb. 11, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

ECOWAS region is waking up to the realisation that its enormous natural resources could be used to solve their energy and power related problems. The region is rich in various forms of bio-energy, with traditional biomass which could be used as the main source of energy for the poor majority and which accounts for 80 percent of total energy consumed for domestic purposes. It also has enormous hydro-electric potentials, untapped ocean energy resources along the coastal regions and island sites, and a vast solar energy potential.

It is this realisation that made the ECOWAS Commission to set up the Cape Verde-based Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, ECREEE, to find solutions to the enormous energy needs of member states. The centre’s programmes and activities are aimed at maximising and diversifying the region’s largely untapped huge renewable energy potentials

ECREEE staff and ECOWAS visiting delegation
ECREEE staff and ECOWAS visiting delegation

ECREEE’s Perspective from 2013 and beyond is to channel its efforts to capacity building, supporting and collaborating with member states on energy projects and programmes. It will domesticate the international Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Action Plan and Implementation, as well as promote South-South Cooperation with China and India, for technology transfer to the region.

ECREEE was set up with the mission to improve energy security, increase access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services and support the region’s economic and social development in an environmentally benign manner through the promotion and use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in ECOWAS member states. Already, ECREEE’s solar and wind energy project on the outskirts of Praia, is supplying 10 percent of Cape Verde’s energy needs. This may explain the recent commendation ECOWAS gave to ECREEE in trying to meet its objectives.

Kadre Desire Ouedraogo, president of the ECOWAS Commission, congratulated the Cape Verde-based Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency for its strides in response to the enormous energy needs of member states. Addressing the staff of the Centre in Praia, January 21, on behalf of the ECOWAS president, Adrienne Diop, commissioner for Human Development and Gender, ECOWAS, described energy as the bedrock of sustainable development, noting that within the short period of its inauguration in 2010, the centre has demonstrated that the region is capable of overcoming its energy challenges.

She thanked the Cape Verde government and development partners, including the Austrain Development Cooperation, the UN Industrial Development Organisation and the Spanish International Development Agency for supporting the regional project. The commissioner encouraged the Centre to partner with her directorate in the conceptualisation and implementation of programmes on energy and gender, given that women and children bore the greatest burden of energy deficiency in the region.

Mahama Kappia, ECREEE executive director, told the ECOWAS delegation about the Centre’s programmes and activities which are aimed at maximising and diversifying the region’s largely untapped huge renewable energy potentials.

The ECOWAS delegation, which included Paul Ejime of the Communications Department, was later conducted on a tour of ECREEE’s solar and wind energy project.  The delegation also visited the construction site of the Centre’s Training Institute.

They also visited the West African Institute, the think-tank on regional integration and social transformation, which is also located in Praia, for a meeting with the staff, including the institute’s newly appointed director-general, Djeneba Traore and Jose Brito, an engineer and chairman of the governing board. After a presentation on the Institutes’s History, Achievements, Challenges and Perspective 2013 – 2016, the leadership identified inadequate funding as the institute’s major constraint.

Responding, Diop on behalf of the president of the commission, said that within its limited resources, ECOWAS would continue to deliver on its mandate to its institutions, member states and citizens. She enjoined the Institute, as a regional think-tank, to provide research-based recommendations and proposals to ECOWAS for the acceleration of socio-economic development and integration of West Africa, adding that the institute should also diversify collaboration and partnership with organisations with similar objectives and with financial institutions for funding.

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