This month’s blog comes from Regional Manager for West Africa, Valeria Aruffo.
Ciao! In preparation for the Regional Energy Cooperation Summit in Abidjan next January I’ve been travelling around West Africa these last couple of weeks, meeting with decision-makers from the region’s energy sector to help shape the agenda and find out what challenges they’re facing in 2017.
My travels first took me to beautiful Senegal. With a population estimated around 14 million, imported fossil fuels power much of the country’s energy supply,
although the country also holds potential for biomass, wind & solar energy production.
There I met with representatives from the Ministry of Petroleum & Energy and the Ministry of Senegal Emerging Plan (PSE). The PSE was formed as part of the Government’s ambitious plan to develop the country into an emerging economy by 2035.
During my trip, the Managing Director of the Senegalese Agency for Renewable Energy (ANER) confirmed to join us at the Summit. ANER is committed to deploying renewable energy solutions across the country, recently partnering with French utility ENGIE SA earlier this year on a solar project. I also managed to meet with the Senegalese Regulatory Commission of Electricity Sector (CRSE) and national utility SENELEC, who implement projects via public-private partnerships.
Last week I returned to one of my favourite countries in Africa- Ghana.
The Electricity Company of Ghana (state owned utility for power distribution), will be an important contributor to our January meeting. The company is to be handed over to a private entity for a period of 20 years concession under the MCC Compact II, which aims to transform Ghana’s power sector and stimulate private investments.
I was delighted to return to the UK having confirmed the endorsement and participation of Dr. Alfred Ahenkorah, Executive Secretary of the Energy Commission (EC). The EC is responsible for the regulation, development & deployment of sustainable energy solutions across the country.
I then met with Kweku Awotwi – recently appointed as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana’s generation company.
ANER’s Managing Director Dijby Ndiaye from Senegal is to join Ghana’s EC on the renewable energy panel discussion, with Dr. Ahenkorah presenting Ghana’s leading example in the region on energy efficiency and the importance of standards and their harmonization.
During my trip I also had the pleasure of sitting down with Theo Sackey, Chief Executive Officer of CenPower Generation, the largest private IPP in Ghana – set for completion in the next couple of months. It’s laying the foundation for the future of IPP project financing as a true realisation of local development; its founding shareholders are Ghanaian and most of the equity is held by African entities and lenders.
Finally, I’m delighted to report we’ve just received endorsement from Ghana’s Grid Company (GRIDCo). Long time participants at the Africa Energy Forum, GRIDCo is in charge of the National Interconnected Transmission System of Ghana, exporting electricity in Burkina Faso and Togo.
William Amuna, Former Chief Executive of GRIDCo and now Advisor to the Hon. Minster Agyarko, shows delegates around at a site visit to the GRIDCo power station at a ‘Powering Africa: Ghana’ meeting in 2015.
That’s all my updates for now – it’s been a whirlwind of meetings, new & old faces and some really great ideas for my programme. I’ll keep you updated as more organisations confirm.
Until next time,
Programme Manager: West Africa