ECOWAS Small-Scale Hydro Power Programme Receives Strong Support from ECOWAS Member States

 ECREEE, in collaboration with UNIDO, the Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme (ESMAP) of the World Bank, as well as the Government of Liberia, and supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation (AECID), conducted a key workshop on small-scale hydro power (SSHP) development for West Africa from 16– 20 April 2012 in Monrovia, Liberia.The event featured a two-day SSHP capacity building seminar and a three-day technical meeting to report on the status of SSHP in the ECOWAS countries as well as to validate the draft project document for the ECOWAS-SSHP programme. The project document was prepared in partnership between ECREEE and UNIDO. Over 70 experts and policy makers from 13 ECOWAS countries, international organizations, electricity utilities, industry and equipment manufacturers as well as financial institutions attended the workshop.The envisaged SSHP programme has an indicative budget of €5m and will be implemented between 2013 – 2018 by ECREEE in cooperation with UNIDO and other partners. The programme includes capacity building, cross-border knowledge and hydrological data sharing, as well as the development of policies and financial schemes. It aims to promote investment for at least 60 hydro sites of various capacities and will establish a network of excellence to facilitate the local development, construction and maintenance of small hydro plants, and to support local production of components such as turbines and spare parts.Mr. Mahama Kappiah, ED of ECREEE, in his opening speech, highlighted the potential of SSHP to boost universal access to electricity services in the ECOWAS region by 2030. Mr. Carlton Miller, the Deputy Minister for Planning and Human Resource Development, Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy of Liberia, also expressed support for the programme and called for the establishment of a national committee on hydro development to map out the feasible hydro potentials, develop a national policy and establish a special small hydro financing scheme.The programme received strong support from the ECOWAS Member State representatives. It is envisaged that the programme will be adopted by the ECOWAS Ministers of Energy during the ECOWAS High Level Energy Forum which will take place from 29–31 October 2012 in Ghana.