By Zainab Sesay
The ministry of petroleum and energy, in collaboration with Energy Charter Secretariat, last week organised a workshop in a bid to raise the alertness of key stakeholders on the Energy Charter process.
The Gambia signed the International Energy Charter in August 2017, demonstrating its political will to strengthen global energy cooperation and enhance its energy investment climate in line with principles of the Energy Charter Treaty, ECT.
Key pillars of the ECT and International Energy Charter include investment, trade, transit and energy efficiency.
Speaking at the event staged under the theme “Promoting Better Governance Structure and Improved Investment Outlook”, Dr Marat Terterov, head of expansion unit of Energy Charter Secretariat, said energy is fundamental to sustainable development and economic growth across the world.
He said developing countries increasingly need to provide reliable and clean sources of energy to their populations in order to put in place basic services in areas such as health and education.
“Some people in The Gambia are living without access to electricity. So many people use wood charcoal and traditional biomass for cooking fuel. The challenges linked to energy remain immense,” he stated.
Josselin Amalfi, EU delegation rep in The Gambia, told the gathering that “energy is a priority” in the portfolio of the EU’s poverty alleviation and eradication strategies in The Gambia.
“The EU encourages strong political ownership on the part of The Gambia, backed by support to create the necessary implementation capacity and conducive financial arrangements and market security that is necessary for the development of the energy sector,” Amalfi said.
He went on to say that energy cooperation forms an integral part of regional efforts.
“…The EU is leading the effort at its own level with the creation of an ambitious energy union between its 28 member states.”
Petroleum and Energy minister, Fafa Sanyang, said the ECT is a multilateral international instrument that offers a cooperative platform for the promotion and protection of energy investment and energy security through open and competitive energy markets.
He stated that as signatory to the Charter, The Gambia was granted observer status to the Energy Charter Conference, which is the governing body of the Energy Charter Treaty.
“We are also actively engaged and committed to regional cooperation initiatives in promoting cross-border energy trade and transit within the framework of West African Power pool through the OMVP interconnection and also bilaterally within our neighbouring country,” Minister Sanyang reported.