EU commits over €1billion in ECOWAS sustainable electricity
The European Union (EU) said it will commit over €1.060 billion grant in West Africa for the provision of sustainable energy within the period 2014-2020.
The Head of Cooperation to EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Kurt Cornelis, made the disclosure while speaking at a five-day ECOWAS regional training workshop on: “Improvement of policy and regulatory framework for clean energy mini-grids and on the renewable energy tariff toolbox.”
He explained that the funding commitment was important, as it shows that access to electricity and promotion of sustainable energy solutions were at the core of EU cooperation with the region.
Cornelis noted that there are challenges towards achieving access to electricity and sustainable energy solutions, adding that on-grid solutions alone cannot solve the problems but the right mix of on-grid and off-grid interventions had to be found.
According to the EU leader, “Among the factors to improve the energy sector are: strong political will to put in place a solid regulatory and policy framework, a stable environment for trade and investment, improved capacities and of course the necessary funding available.”
Also, through a financial instrument called Africa Investment Facility, he said the EU is in the process of allocating €360 million for energy and transport.
He noted that although the EU is giving traditional assistance in form of grants, it must be complemented with other tools and sources of finance in order to reach the ambitious targets set by the sustainable Development Goals.
He solicited new partnerships to mobilise private resources, to apply innovative financing models and proposed External Investment Plan for private sector to join to drive growth and prosperity.
Further, he said that Electrification Financing Initiative (ElectriFI) was created as a financing scheme to bridge the gaps in structuring, financing, stimulating the private sector, and mobilising financiers.
Responding, the Permanent Secretary (Power), in the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Louis Edozien, said Nigeria is focusing on improving the experiences it gained over the years in efforts to have sustainable electricity supply.
He assured that Nigeria has well set out legal framework for establishing mini-grid and renewable energy, as well as on eligible customers, and urged the delegates to focus on workable contractual agreements with Nigeria.