The 7th Edition of the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF2022) has opened with a High-Level opening ceremony featuring ECOWAS leaders, and international partners reaffirming commitment to improving energy access for all and setting a path for energy transition in the West African region.
The event which opened at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, Nigeria, with more than 300 delegates, is focused on the Theme Achieving Sustainable Energy Targets in the ECOWAS Region: Moving from Resilience to Transition! “. ESEF 2022 aims to catalyze public and private partnerships, contribute towards the creation of an enabling policy and regulatory environment, and the mobilization of new investments in the ECOWAS region’s sustainable energy sector.
H.E. Sediko Douka, ECOWAS Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization, said 50% of Africans have access to electricity, but less than 10% are accessible to those in the rural areas. He revealed that ECOWAS is working hard to integrate all communities into the grid, noting that: “By next year we will have electricity market where contractors can buy electricity.” He further added that: “We are developing a new energy policy for the region that will be operational by June next year.”
H. E. Engr. Abubakar Aliyu, Nigeria’s Minister of Power said: “Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan is a prime example of the needed evolution of policies to deliver both the growth in energy consumption necessary for development and the climate response required for the preservation of our planet.” He noted that: “The importance of energy to human development cannot be over emphasized. Its relevance extends beyond socio-economic development to include security and sovereignty, foreign policy as well as international trade.
H.E. Juan Ignacio Sell, Ambassador of Spain to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, in his speech, stated that: “This gathering affords member countries to share ideas and create awareness on our quest to achieve the SDGs in West Africa.” He however lamented that: “We are failing short of the target we set for renewable and green energy,” insisting that: “Energy poverty and energy security needs to be addressed.” He reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to assist the region in infrastructure and capacity building.