A release from the Ministry of Energy broadcast by the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) informs the general public that the Gambia has signed a grant agreement with ECOWAS amounting to 31.5 million dollars on Monday 16th December 2013 in Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire. The agreement is signed by the Gambia's minister of Energy, Mrs Teneng Ba Jaiteh, on behalf of the Gambia and Mr. Kadre Kedraogo, President of ECOWAS Commission. According to the release, the grant amounts to 108 million dollars meant for Mali benefiting 54.32 million, Gambia 31.5 million and Sierra Leone 21.8 million dollars.
During the signing ceremony in Abidjan with the three beneficiary countries, the ECOWAS President Kadre Kedraogo said the persistent Energy deficit has become more acute in the last 10 years which has impacted negatively on the region's competitiveness, productivity and economic growth. He said the request is made by the beneficiary states to enable them to rehabilitate some of their energy infrastructure and network, build capacity and install prepayment meters and develop and improve mechanism for coordination and monitoring of their energy utilities.
"The programme will address severe Energy shortages in these countries which would have had to rely on load shedding in order to meet the minimum needs of their population with multi dimensional implications mostly in the health sector, social and economic sectors resulting in public disaffections," said Kadre Kedraogo, President of the ECOWAS Commission.
The Gambia's minister of Energy Mrs Teneng Ba Jaiteh said among other things that Member states have dire need for assistance. She thanksesd ECOWAS for the support and said the programme will immediately kick start as soon as they step in their various capitals; that the funds are urgently required to help stabilise what she describes as the precarious situation which they have been grappling with at their various energy sectors.