The opening ceremony of the 8th ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF 2023), organised on Thursday 12 October 2023 in Praia, Cabo Verde by the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), was also the occasion for the launch of the Regional Off- Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP). These 2 activities were launched by H.E Ulisses Correia E Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde and H.E Dr Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Com- mission, in the presence of Mr Sediko Douka, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digital- isation.
Over 300 participants were present in the conference room of the Cabo Verde National Assembly for the opening ceremony of the ESEF 2023 and the launch of the ROGEAP. In addition to mem- bers of the Cabo Verde government and National Assembly, the event was attended by the Heads of Agencies and Directors in charge of energy at the ECOWAS Commission and Member States, representatives of partners such as the World Bank, the West African Development Bank, the Eu- ropean Union, USAID, commercial banks, non-governmental organisations and associations working in the sustainable energy sector, and the private sector.
After a welcome address by Mr Sediko Douka, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalisation, and a speech by Mr Kwaku Mensan Gaba, Practice Manager for West Africa at the World Bank, H.E. Dr Alieu Omar Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, had the honour to launch ROGEAP.
After expressing his sincere gratitude to H.E José Maria Pereira Neves, President of Cabo Verde, for his commitment to regional integration and to H.E Ulisses Correia E Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde and his government, for their support to ECREEE and ESEF 2023, the President of the ECOWAS Commission reiterated the importance of this Forum, which provides a privileged platform for discussing the crucial role of renewable energy and energy efficiency as catalysts for sustainable development, both globally and in West Africa. “Today is a particularly solemn day, with the launch of the Regional Off-Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP). RO- GEAP is one of the most important renewable energy projects for the ECOWAS Commission”, stated H.E. Dr Alieu Omar Touray at the end of his address. The event was opened by H.E. Ulisses Correia E Silva, Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, who gave the official speech launching the forum.
ROGEAP took advantage of the second day of the forum to organise its first physical meeting of the “Community of Champions” initiative for West Africa (plus Mauritania, Chad, Cameroon and the Central African Republic) with governments and the private sector to discuss the challenges facing the off-grid solar energy market in the region.
The 3 sessions facilitated by ROGEAP during the “Community of Champions” focused respec- tively on “the policy and regulatory framework for the off-grid industry in the ECOWAS re- gion”, “the involvement and role of the private sector in access to off-grid energy”, and fi- nally “Access to funding for off-grid energy”. The Community of Champions is a platform sup- ported by the World Bank/ESMAP, the Shell Foundation, USAID/Power Africa, AECF, SE4All and GOGLA to facilitate ongoing exchange, primarily between governments, the private sector and development partners, in order to collaborate in creating an enabling policy environment through best practice and sharing of experiences to contribute to universal access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa.