H.E. Mohamed Bazoum, President of the Republic of Niger, and his Ghanaian counterpart, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), officially launched the Regional Electricity Interconnection Project known as the “North Backbone Project” in Gorou banda, a community about ten kilometers from Niamey.
The $568.2 million ECOWAS North Backbone Project seeks to build a 330kW interconnection line dubbed North Backbone to supply energy from Nigeria to Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo.
The World Bank, the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency, and the European Union are all funding the initiative, which also has Nigeria’s support. The power connectivity project’s construction will be completed in 2024.
In his remarks, Niger’s Minister of Petroleum, Energy, and Renewable Energy, Mahamane Sani Issoufou Mahamadou, expressed his delight at Niger’s selection to commence the North Backbone Regional Electricity Interconnection Project through the West African Power Pool (WAPP). At the inaugural event, the Minister welcomed H.E. Mohamed Bazoum, President of the Republic of Niger, and H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
The North Backbone project, according to the Minister, is a far-reaching regional project that will benefit our communities by facilitating electricity trade in the sub-region and extending access to electricity to communities along the transmission line, which includes 611 communities in Burkina Faso and 432 in Niger.
H.E. Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, who was represented by Mr. Sédiko Douka, Commissioner for Mines and Energy, stated that the presence of the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority alongside the President of Niger demonstrates the importance that the Heads of State place on energy and other important subjects for regional economic integration.
“It demonstrates that ECOWAS is concerned about physical infrastructure (transport, energy, telecommunications, and water), as well as agriculture and food security, the single currency, the common external tariff, free movement of goods and services, and the right of establishment, among other things,” he noted.
This flagship project supports two other similar projects in West Africa, the OMVG (Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, and Guinea Bissau), which is building a roughly 1,700 km line, and the CLSG (Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea), which is building a 1,300 km connecting line.
The completion of these three projects will result in the connectivity of all 14 ECOWAS member nations, creating a favorable environment for the proper execution of the West African regional organization’s regional power market, which was established in 2018.