ECOWAS Energy Centre Lauded for Its Achievements

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Praia - Cape Verde — The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo has congratulated the Cape-Verde based Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) for its commendable strides in response to the enormous energy needs of Member States.

Addressing staff of the Centre in Praia on Monday 21st January 2013, on behalf of the President, the Commissioner for Human Development and Gender, Dr. Adrienne Diop, described energy as the bedrock of sustainable development, noting that within the short period of its inauguration in 2010, the Centre has demonstrated that the region is capable of overcoming its energy challenges. She thanked the Cape Verde Government and development partners including the Austrian Development Cooperation, the UN Industrial Development Organization and the Spanish International Development Agency for supporting the regional project.

The Commissioner encouraged the Centre to partner with her directorate in the conceptualization and implementation of programmes on energy and gender, given that women and children bore the greatest burden of energy deficiency in the region. The ECREE Executive Director, Mr. Mahama Kappia, made a presentation to the delegation in which he highlighted the Centre's programmes and activities aimed at maximizing and diversifying the region's largely untapped huge renewable energy potentials.

The report characterised West Africa as rich in all forms of bio-energy, with traditional biomass as the main source of energy for the poor majority and which accounts for 80% of total energy consumed for domestic purposes. It also has enormous hydro-electric potential, untapped ocean energy resources along the coastal regions and island sites, and a vast solar energy potential. Mr. Kappia also projected \ECREE's Perspective from 2013 and beyond, capacity building, support and collaboration with Member States on energy projects and programmes, the domestication of the international Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Action Plan and Implementation, as well as the promotion of South-South Cooperation with China and India, for technology transfer to the region.

The ECOWAS delegation which included Mr. Paul Ejime of the Communication Department was later conducted on a tour of ECREEE's solar and wind energy project on the outskirts of Praia, which is supplying 10% of Cape Verde's energy needs. The delegation also visited the construction site of the Centre's Training Institute. ECREE was set up with the mission to improve energy security, increase access to modern, affordable and reliable energy services and support the region's economic and social development in an environmentally benign manner through the promotion and use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies in ECOWAS Member States. The delegation also visited the West African Institute, the regional Think-tank on regional integration and social transformation, which is also located in Praia, for a meeting with the staff, including the institute's newly appointed Director General Prof. Djeneba Traore and Chairman, Governing Board, Engr.

Jose Brito. After a presentation on the Institute's History, Achievements, Challenges and Perspectives 2013-2016, the leadership identified inadequate funding as the Institute's major constraint. In her response on behalf of the President of the Commission, Commissioner Diop affirmed that within its limited resources, ECOWAS would continue to deliver on its mandate to Community institutions, Member States and citizens. She enjoined the Institute, as a regional think-tank, to provide research-based recommendations and proposals to ECOWAS for the acceleration of socio-economic development and integration of West Africa. The Institute should also diversify collaboration and partnership with organizations with similar objectives and with financial institutions for funding.

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