Energy experts, development banks, development partners, utilities, and private sector investors in the ECOWAS region and beyond on Wednesday 11TH October in Dakar, Senegal began a three-day meeting for the first edition of the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF2017). The ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) is organizing the forum on the theme ECOWAS Energy Self-Sufficiency: the Crucial Role of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
The ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum aims to promote exchange of ideas and cooperation to support the acceleration of sustainable solutions to the region’s energy systems. During these three days, delegates will discuss issues and find solutions on how to improve the current policy and regulatory landscape hindering the required investment into the region’s energy sector. Delegates will also exchange ideas on up-to-date cutting edge information on the ECOWAS energy market as well as facilitate networking and partnerships between ECOWAS policy makers, regional and international private sector players and financial institutions.
Presiding over the opening ceremony at the Radisson Blu hotel, the Director of Cabinet at the Senegalese Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, Mr. Mouhamadou Diop, underscored the importance of the forum, noting that Senegal remains committed to regional integration. Mr. Diop also informed delegates that the Senegalese government is working towards achieving universal access to affordable and reliable electricity services by 2030. He disclosed that Dakar is committed to double the renewable energy component in the energy generation mix and reinforce the international cooperation in terms of research and clean energy technology.
Mr. Diop also informed the forum that plans are under way in Senegal to generate 405 MW of renewable energy which will be injected into the national grid. This he said will result to a rural electrification rate of 33.2% with 7% coming from solar generation. He thanked ECREEE for its technical and financial support in the validation of his country’s renewable energy and energy efficiency master-plan.
The Commissioner for Energy and Mines at the ECOWAS Commission, Morlaye Bangoura thanked all development partners for their contributions towards the successful hosting of the forum. He also spoke at length about the importance of the meeting, noting that the investment potential in the region should enable investors to take up the challenge.
Several other speakers at the ceremony including the Ambassador of Spain to Senegal Alberto Virella, Ambassador, Head of the EU delegation to Senegal, Gonzalez Ducay, and the lead Energy Specialist representing the Country Director, World Bank, Raihan Elahi all of who expressed delight to take part in the forum. They expressed their commitment towards the realization of the objectives of the forum.
At a press briefing immediately after the opening ceremony, the Executive Director of ECREEE, Mr. Mahama Kappiah informed Journalists that the past couple of years witnessed the development of national policies and action plans in 15 member countries of ECOWAS. He further stated that this forum supposed to lunch or roll out a number of projects developed over the years in a bid to transform the renewable energy landscape in ECOWAS member countries.
The forum is organized in with the support of Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC), the Spanish Agency for international Development Cooperation (AECID), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the World Bank, and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit Germany (GIZ).