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Gambia host Ecowas ROGEP preparatory forum

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The Regional off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP) forum was held in Banjul The Gambia on Wednesday 6 December 2017 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel. The workshop was jointly organized by the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Gambia Ministry of Energy.

The workshop was attended by national stakeholders, which created awareness as well as sharing information on the ROGEP project. The project was designed by the World Bank and ECREEE aimed at increasing access to sustainable electricity services in the ECOWAS region especially for households, productive uses and public facilities(Health and Education).

This national workshop was designed to set the tone for the implementation of the preparatory phase of ROGEP, and the second one to be held next year will highlight the results of the preparatory phase (Regional solar Market Assessment..etc) of the ROGEP project as well as discussing the way forward.

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The Banjul forum discussed the situation of standalone solar systems, (solar home systems, Pico solar systems, productive uses of energy and the electrification of public institutions in the country). Participants also brainstorm on viable business and financing models, existing barriers to private investment in the electrification of public institutions and Technical Assistance needs for key stakeholders. Delegates also dilated on the different roles of key stakeholders and how to enhance collaboration and synergies for an improved business environment.

Officially opening the forum the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Energy of the Gambia, Mr. Momodou Njie underscored the importance of the project, which he said would be implemented in two phases namely preparatory and implementation phase. This he said will provide technical assistance in improving off-grid market ecosystem, support financial service providers to electrify households and commercial enterprises and support service providers to electrify public institutions. Mr. Njie hoped that the ROGEP project will collaborate with other mini off-grid programs in a bid to create the necessary synergies and avoid duplication of efforts and inefficient use of resources.

Also speaking at the opening ceremony, a representative from ECREEE, Mr. Hamadou Tchiemogo described ROGEP project as the first regional initiative, which aims to promote off-grid electrification by standalone solar solutions in West Africa and Sahel. This he said is part of ECREEE’s commitment to “Move from Plans to Actions”.

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Mr. Tchiemogo said the theme of the workshop “Promoting Private Investments in Standalone Solar Systems in West Africa and the Sahel” is designed to enable the private sector play a leading role in the implementation of the project. He expressed ECREEE’s gratitude to the World Bank for providing funds for the project.

A Senior Energy Specialist representing the World Bank, Mr. Chris Trimble also dilated on the importance of the ROGEP project, noting that it will focus on the rural areas in the Gambia. He also added that, discussions on synergies between ROGEP and Gambia Electricity Restoration and Modernization Project (also financed by World Bank) especially on health and school electrification by off-grid PV solar systems, have already started.

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