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Regional Energy Co-operation Summit opens in Accra

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The Akosombo Dam – Ghana’s first hydro-power plant.

A three-day Regional Energy Co-operation Summit, hosted by EnergyNet Africa and the Ministry of Energy, is underway in Accra.

The Summit is an annual investors’ meeting, which focused on cross-border energy infrastructure and the financing of projects in West Africa.

It brought together captains of industries in the energy sector in Africa to form partnerships and chart the way forward in energy projects and integration in West Africa and engage decision makers from ECOWAS public and private sectors to explore how the project bankability can be increased.

The Summit is on the theme: “Anchor Projects for Regional Energy Development and Industrialisation”.

Mr Samuel Boakye-Appiah, the Managing Director of Electricity Company of Ghana, said the country’s energy sector had witnessed a great transformation in terms of infrastructure and structural reforms in reliability of power supply to meet domestic and foreign needs.

He said the reforms created the needed enabling environment for the emergence of independent power producers, especially in the thermal generation.

The Managing Director said the World Bank recommended Engineers from Afghanistan to attach to ECG Engineering Department to sharpen their skills in system planning and design.

He said ECG was now entering a new era of private sector participation, which started in 1994 under the Compact II Programme signed between the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Government for a grant of $498.2 million.

Mr Boakye-Appiah stated that the funds were focussed for investments in the distribution segment of the power sector.

He added that private sector participation in electricity distribution had been implemented in different forms in West Africa, particularly in Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

He said the objective for introducing private sector participation in electricity was to improve performance in the delivery of electricity services, mobilise private investment, and increase competition in the ECG service area.

On the way forward for the company, the Managing Director said ECG would be restructured to venture into other futuristic businesses such as providing services for electric car battery charging and powering of electric trains.

Mr Boakye-Appiah appealed to West African countries and investors to adopt an end-to-end electrification solution, where residential and non-residential end-users are factored into the packaging of generation projects.

A speech read on behalf of Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Energy, said the country was working assiduously to become the power hub in the region and as well drive industrialisation.

He said steps were being taken to address challenges in the energy sector with the help of private partnerships to promote investment.

He stated that effective collaboration within the region would help ameliorate the pitfalls in the sector, adding that, Africa must invest resources in the sector to build its infrastructural development.

Madam Valera Aruffo, Director, Africa EnergyNet, said the Summit was designed to help investors prepare for investments in line with Ghana’s strategic role within ECOWAS and WAPP common energy market plan.

She commended Ghana for increasing its energy access from 25 per cent to 84 per cent since 1989, adding that, the national goal was to achieve 100 per cent access by 2020.

She said the country’s determination of becoming a downstream oil and gas hub in the region would bring forth the synergies between renewables and gas within the energy ecosystem.

Madam Aruffo was optimistic that the Summit would be engaging with collective invested parties with common a goal of making industrialisation, energy integration and economic growth and job creation a reality for West African countries.

Source: GNA

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