THE Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional window of the African Development Bank (AfDB) group has approved a technical assistance grant of $2 million to fund research that will contribute to electricity reforms in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The grant which received the board’s nod on Friday, June 24, will go to the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority, and its ultimate objective is to stimulate cross-border electricity trade and improve energy access in the 15 countries in the region.
Commenting on the development, Project Team Leader in AfDB, Solomon Sarpong, said “this project has five components, and the first component involves selecting electricity regulatory principles and key performance indicators from AfDB’s flagship Electricity Regulatory Index for Africa report, which is to be adopted by the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority.
“As part of this component, the project will build capacity in member countries for collecting and reporting on the indicators on a common platform.
“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 centralised 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. It will address major causes of fragility, such as infrastructure bottlenecks, youth unemployment, environmental challenges, gender inequalities, and regional development imbalances,” Sarpong stated.
Established on May 28, 1975 via the Treaty of Lagos, ECOWAS is a regional organisation that promotes economic integration in the constituting countries.
It consists of 15 countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.