Five West Africa Countries have topped the energy access status in the ECOWAS region with their population having access to electricity, the ECOWAS Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) says.
Mahama Kappiah, Executive Director, ECREEE, disclosed this during his presentation at the ongoing Second Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament on Monday in Abuja.
He said that Cape Verde, Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria and Cote D'ivoire were leading in the region while Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo had the least status.
According to Mr Kappiah, only 42 per cent of the total ECOWAS population had access to electricity while only eight per cent of the rural population had access to electricity.
He said that more than 175 million people are without access to electricity services in the region, adding that more needed to be done to improve the statistics.
The ECREEE director said that about 1.7 million people would benefit from the introduction of the Regional Off-Grid Electrification Project (ROGEP).
He said that the estimated budget of the project was 223 million dollars, which was aimed at enhancing electricity access in West Africa and the Sahel region through stand-alone solar systems.
Kappiah added that the project would also benefit solar companies and local entrepreneurs from the ECOWAS, Mauritania, Cameroon and Chad.
"The next phase of ROGEP under ECREEE leadership is Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Senegal, which are targeted because the countries are the major providers of candidates for emigration.
"The status of readiness of these countries to host the proposed activities is acceptable, given the political institution and technological environment.
"The implementation will create one million jobs, self employment for youths in the region, enhance various agriculture value chain as fundamental of the West Africa economy."
The executive director added that the extension to all ECOWAS countries would follow recommendations by the ECOWAS Parliament.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mandate of the ECREEE is to sustain development and cooperation in the region with the objective of promoting cooperation among member states for the development of a viable regional infrastructure.
In particular, it has the specific sub-objectives of promoting provision of efficient, reliable and competitive energy sources to member states through the common exploitation of traditional and alternative energy sources.
It also promotes rural access to affordable energy in the region. (NAN)