A technical assistance grant in the sum of two million dollars has been authorized by the Board of Directors of the African Development Fund. The grant is intended to fund research that will help to power reforms in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority will be the recipient of the grant that was provided by the African Development Fund. The African Development Fund is the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group. The end goal is to increase energy access throughout the 15 countries that are located in the region and to boost the commerce of electricity across international borders.
The project is comprised of five different parts. The first step is for the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority to select electricity regulatory principles and key performance indicators from the flagship Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa report published by the African Development Bank. These will be adopted by the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority. The project will establish capacity in member nations so that they can collect and report on these indicators on a unified platform as part of this component of the project.
The second component will involve conducting a study in order to update a comparative analysis of electricity tariffs and their underlying drivers across the electricity value chain of ECOWAS.
The third involves developing a centralized database management system that will provide a platform for digitally collecting relevant energy information from member countries, storing it, and disseminating them on a common digital platform.
The fourth component will assess and identify project bottlenecks and risks in ECOWAS member countries and recommend a coherent approach to progressively address ground-level barriers to investment in the power sector in pre-and post-establishment phases of the regional electricity market.
The final component focuses on program management and capacity building, which will be co-financed with the Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority. All components of the project will include gender-disaggregated data.
“Ultimately, this project will facilitate regional electricity trade and help improve access to electricity,” said Solomon Sarpong, project team leader at the African Development Bank. “It will address major causes of fragility, such as infrastructure bottlenecks, youth unemployment, environmental challenges, gender inequalities, and regional development imbalances.”
Established on 28 May 1975 via the Treaty of Lagos, ECOWAS is a regional organization that promotes economic integration in the constituting countries. ECOWAS consists of 15 countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Covering about 6.1 million km2, ECOWAS has an estimated population of 360 million people.