BY CHIKA IZUORA, Lagos
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is considering a legal framework that will make the regional electricity market attractive to investors.
The president of the ECOWAS commission, Mr Kassi Brou, described the regional electricity market, currently under construction, as fundamental to the development of West Africa.
During his visit to the Accra-based ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), Brou reiterated that energy production is vital to the viability of the market, adding that the regional organisation is already formulating policies that will attract investments.
According to him, ECOWAS’ focus was in ensuring transmission and distribution lines for cross-border power exchange and access to the local population.
He said the body was also interested in having a good legal environment “so that private investors can know exactly, in a very predictable and transparent way, what the rules are and so can invest in the sector”.
In June 2018, the first phase of the regional electricity market was launched in Cotonou, Benin Republic.
Brou, revealed that the second phase will introduce a competitive market and help promote efficiency.
He expressed optimism that the electricity market will ensure an increase in investment, considering the existence of a free trade area and the free circulation of persons, goods and services in the region.
“We are trying to make energy available at a competitive cost to every country, and at the lowest cost possible for community citizens,” he said.
Brou maintained that ECOWAS was preoccupied with achieving the objective that has been set for energy, including increasing the availability of energy to the people, as well as cost-effectiveness and efficiency in energy production and gradually transform the whole mix to renewable energy.
He said: “ECOWAS countries are on course in the vaccination programme, and with support from ECOWAS through the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), we are helping to procure more vaccines.”
Brou maintained that there are lessons ECOWAS needs to learn and steps to take so that the economies of member states can be rapidly re-launched.