On 3 November 2012, the expert team on the SEEA-WA project met to appraise the activities implemented in the year 2012 and deliberate on action plans for the second year of the project cycle. SEEA-WA, which stands for Supporting Energy Efficiency for Access in West Africa, is a project funded by the European Union; it aims to address the inherent barriers hindering the transition towards an energy efficient economy in the ECOWAS region.

The project, which was officially launched on 10 October 2011, has achieved remarkable success within a short period of time. Within a year, a stocktaking exercise to assess the current status of energy efficiency in the ECOWAS region had been conducted and a detailed report on energy efficiency status developed for each of the 15 Member States; a network of national partners and stakeholders had been established and engaged; and a regional policy document on energy efficiency had been drafted and adopted by the ECOWAS energy ministers. In order to achieve the objectives of the regional EE policy, five flagship initiatives were launched – the ECOWAS Initiative on Efficient Lighting which aims at transitioning to efficient lighting and habits in West Africa; the ECOWAS Initiative on Achieving High Performance Distribution of Electricity which aims to reduce commercial and technical losses in the region’s electricity distribution systems;  the ECOWAS Initiative on Safe, Sustainable and Affordable Cooking which aims at increasing access to safe, sustainable and affordable cooking fuels and stoves; the ECOWAS Initiative on Standards and Labelling (S&L) which aims at developing and implementing regional standards and labels for energy equipment, to be adopted by all ECOWAS Member States;  and the ECOWAS Initiative on Financing Sustainable Energy which aims to mobilise financing instruments to support regional energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.

From 2013 onwards, the focus will be on the implementation of these initiatives. Currently, Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and harmonization of new and existing standards are being developed under the initiatives on Energy Efficient Lighting and Standards and Labelling. For the cooking initiative, the activities will focus on developing national and regional strategies for their implementation, establishing labels for cook stoves, and research and development, while for the initiatives on Achieving High Performance Distribution of Electricity and Financing Sustainable Energy, stakeholder meetings have commenced with a view to identifying the needs and appropriate interventions.

The performance and impact of these activities will be monitored, evaluated and reported by the Environment and Development Action in the Third World (ENDA-TM), an organization based in Dakar, Senegal, to ensure that the objectives of the project – combining improved energy efficiency in order to broaden energy access –  are fully realised.