The General Secretariat of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), under the high patronage of the Heads of State and Government of Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria, member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), launched on Tuesday, February 22, 2022 the work on the electrical interconnection called “North Ridge”. It will be in the presence of several ECOWAS Heads of State and Government under the authority of Nana Akufo-Addo, current president of ECOWAS and officials of the sub-regional organization.
The electrical interconnection work of the ECOWAS countries called “North Ridge” has officially started in Niger. Valued at 568.2 million US dollars, this project implemented by WAPP takes into account Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. This is one of the priority projects of the ECOWAS master plan for the development of regional means of production and transmission of electrical energy 2019-2033 and adopted by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government during their 54th summit held in December 2018 in Abuja. The realization of the said project should eventually make it possible to exchange electrical energy between Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso with the view of meeting the needs of the populations and especially, improving the economies of the countries in accordance with the national strategies of development of the sub-region countries concerned by the project. It will also be a question of promoting, by 2030, universal access to reliable electricity, a guarantee of sustainable socio-economic transformation. Through this project, regional economic integration would be strengthened through the establishment of an electricity market. According to Sédiko DOUKA, ECOWAS Commissioner for Energy and Mines, “This project is one of ECOWAS’ flagship and integrating programs because (i) it will facilitate electricity trade in the sub-region and strengthen the regional volume of electricity exchanges which is currently low (9%) despite the current interconnection of 9 out of 14 countries; (ii) contribute to absorbing the deficit of energy transport means and reduce the electricity tariff in the area; and (iii) will increase the rate of access to electricity, particularly in rural areas, by electrifying nearly 600 localities (432 in Niger and 179 in Burkina Faso) located along the lines to be built. This is a catalytic element that will contribute to raising the regional access rate, which is currently 50%. Hence the need of attaching real importance to the construction of the 330KV line and its related works, and reflecting on the ways and means to facilitate and secure all the planned work”. The WAPP Secretary, SIENGUI A. KI, went on to add that the North Ridge project thus marks an additional step in WAPP’s activities in the integration of national electricity networks, materializing a perfect collaboration between the governments of Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and technical and financial partners such as the French Development Agency (AFD), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU), the World Bank (WB), the Federal Government of Nigeria and NEPAD-IPPF.