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Ecowas Commission holds media sensitisation forum on regional electricity project

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The ECOWAS Regional Off-Grid Electricity Access Project, ROGEAP, recently embarked on series of workshops in member countries designed to sensitize the public about ROGEAP. The workshop seeks to create awareness and share information about ROGEAP with national stakeholders.
ROGEAP was designed by ECOWAS and the World Bank to increase access to sustainable electricity services in the ECOWAS region and four Sahelian countries especially for households, commercial enterprises and public facilities. The project aims to provide technical assistance in a bid to improve off-grid market ecosystem, support financial service providers to electrify households and commercial enterprises and support service providers to electrify public institutions.
It is against this background that the ECOWAS Commission recently organized a two-day media workshop held in Cotonou, Benin to sensitize members of the regional media houses in the 19-member countries about the World Bank funded project. As one of the key stakeholders of the project, the workshop was designed to equip Journalists with the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to provide more visibility to the project. Participants at the Cotonou forum are also expected to play a more meaningful role as ambassadors and focal points for the successful implementation of a stand-alone solar systems in their respective countries.
Addressing media practitioners at the workshop, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization, Sediko Douka in a speech read on his behalf, noted with dissatisfaction the number of people residing in rural areas in our region who do not have access to electricity. Commissioner Douka reported that out of the 406 million people that live in West Africa and the Sahel region, an estimated 208 million do not have access to electricity, with 70% of the them residing in rural areas. This appalling figure, he noted, led to the birth of the ROGEAP project to address the issue in order to achieve sustainable development and reduce poverty in the ECOWAS and Sahel regions.
Mr. Douka pointed out that no development is possible if only three percent of the African population has access to energy and less than fifty percent in the ECOWAS region and the Sahel. He informed the pressmen that without sensitization the objectives of the ROGEAP project cannot be achieved.
Speaking on the occasion, the President of the ROGEAP Network of Journalists in the 19 member countries, Mr. Abdoulie Gassama, emphasized the importance of access to electricity and urged the media to educate all the stakeholders on the main elements of the project and the state of preparations. Mr. Gassama pointed out that it is the primary responsibility of the media to report and provide extensive news coverage of the project implementation stages. He also called on the media to create awareness to enable authorities to devote resources and create incentives for private sector investment in the ROGEAP project.
Mr. Gassama told the gathering that the survival of the entire ECOWAS population and that of the Sahel is highly dependent on affordable access to energy not only in the cities, but also in the villages and hamlets across the region.
ROGEAP is financed to the tune of $333.8 million by the World Bank, the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), and the General Directorate of the International Cooperation (DGIS of the Government of the Netherlands. It is part of the ECOWAS program on Access to Sustainable Electricity Services (EPASES), contributing directly to the objectives of the ECOWAS Regional Renewable Energy Policy (EREP), with the goal of providing universal access to electricity in the two regions by 2030.
The ECOWAS Commission will be responsible for the technical implementation and the West African Development Bank (BOAD) will facilitate access to credit for companies on flexible terms. The Project Fund Manager (PFM), a technical support unit of the ECOWAS, will carry out the technical assistance activities.

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