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World Bank approves N43.7bn for ECOWAS power plan

The World Bank has approved the sum of N43.75 billion ($350 million) for the phased implementation of the ECOWAS master plan for the development of power  plants.
   The master plan was deliberated upon and approved in 1999 by ECOWAS heads of state and ministers of energy for the development of power plants and the inter-connection of the transmission grid in the sub- region.
   Nigeria?s Minister of State for Energy, (Power), Fatima Ibrahim, who commended the World Bank for the donation at the second meeting of the general assembly of the West African Power Pool [WAPP] said she was gladdened by the fact that the hopes and aspirations of WAPP and the people of Africa  were being met and collective efforts were coming to fruition.
   She reminded the participants that the development of the sub-region depended largely on the availability of electric power supply and closing the gap between generation and supply. She said it was imperative for ECOWAS countries to seek internal ways and means of solving the energy problems of member states rather than running to donors.
   “It is important at this juncture, to draw the attention of this august assembly of our sub-regional planners to the dire need for increasing the role of renewable energy in achieving sustainable development in the sub-region. In the long-term, WAPP should envision a sub-region that will significantly be less dependent on hydro-cabons. Solar energy, biomass, small  hydro power and wind are expected to provide opportunities for empowering  people and communities in meeting the energy and development needs of the sub-region”
   Joseph Makoju, chairman of the assembly, said almost all the countries in the ECOWAS region are experiencing power shortage and are in need of huge generating capacity. He assured that the WAPP executive board has taken decisive action on the challenge so as to take a global view of the generation requirement for the region.
   He said the WAPP was set up to create a power pool through sets of regional cooperative agreements of common rules and to produce an abundant, reliable, efficient and affordable energy supply while attracting private sector investment.
   “The WAPP is structured as an independent, committee driven organisation and operates as an association of public and private electric power entities in the West African region.
   The WAPP members are required to further the goals of WAPP by coordinating their projects and complying with regulatory requirements at the regional level” he said.
   He announced that the WAPP secretariat secured a grant from the European Union APC Energy facility for construction of cross-border medium voltage between member countries after submitting an application and met the stringent conditions attached.

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