13.04.2004 General News

WAPP moves forward to ensure best international energy transmission and

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trade policies

Accra, April 13, GNA - The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Energy Protocol, when fully ratified, would bring West Africa into conformity with the best international energy transmission and trade policies being pursued anywhere in the world.

Mr David Kamara, Director of Infrastructure and Industry at the ECOWAS Secretariat, said it would ensure free flow of energy and energy materials across national boundaries while providing international-style respect for energy capital investment.

Mr Kamara was speaking at the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Technical and Institutional meeting of ECOWAS states in Accra on Tuesday. WAPP seeks to create an inter-connected West African Electricity Grid and Power Pool.

It would also institutionalise electricity trade across national boundaries, create an investment environment that would attract the private capital necessary to build infrastructure of WAPP. Furthermore, WAPP seeks to lower the cost of electricity making it more accessible to a broader range of people in the West Africa Sub-Region.

The Power Pool when developed in West Africa would be judged by the capital markets not on the standards of West Africa or even Africa as a continent, but on global terms in competition with all corners of the earth for development funds.

Mr Kamara said West Africa would accord the kind of protection needed by international investors and would make them feel secured about spending their monies on the project.

He said the meeting was another step in the traditional WAPP implementation process and focused on the implementation of the decisions made at the previous working sessions held in Accra and Conakry in 2002 and Dakar in 2003.

The objective is to consolidate progress made and specifically to accelerate the implementing of decisions relating to the development of appropriate legal and regulatory framework necessary for the West Africa Power Pool and management on environmental impact of the electricity generation and transmission installations.

Mr Kamara said in pursuance of the objectives the current meeting would constitute the presentation of WAPP modelling activities, including various elements of WAPP planning process and technical installation of the latest software for modellers.

Discussion and evaluation of WAPP dynamic stability study results and update of WAPP master plan and analysis and validation of the ECOWAS guidelines for environmental impact assessment of electric power generation and transmission systems that form part of the WAPP network among other things would also constitute the work plan for the meeting.

He said a regulatory body to be created in April 2005 would oversee WAPP's activities, and reflect a balance of fields relevant to the regulation and the provision of electricity as well as balance the different parts of the ECOWAS Region.

Stating the duties of the regulatory entity, Mr Kamara said, the body would review bulk power transactions between systems of member state entities in order to analyse their efficiency and to monitor vulnerability to anti-competitive conducts.

The body would also be responsible for supervising the creation of an effective system for the resolution of disputes and enforcement of the regulatory functions.

Mr Kamara, who also represented the Deputy Executive Secretary of ECOWAS, appealed to development partners, who had pledged to provide resources to bring the programme into operation to deliver on their promises.

He appealed to the Parliaments of ECOWAS countries to speedily endorse and ratify the protocol.

Mr Kamara pledged the support of the ECOWAS Secretariat for the accomplishment of the objectives that WAPP sought to achieve.

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