Member countries of the Economic Community of African States (ECOWAS) have been urged to increase their investments in renewable energy supply to ensure reliable and constant electricity supply to accelerate socio-economic development.
The Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia who made the call at the ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF) 2019 in Accra, said there was the need for ECOWAS countries to step their energy investment to ensure universal access to electricity by 2030.
The three-day programme and third of its kind organised by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Efficiency (ECREEE) was on the theme, ‘Achieving sustainable energy targets in the ECOWAS region.’
Dr Bawumia who was the guest speaker said if the challenges of low electricity access were not curbed soon as possible, there were strong indications that the ECOWAS member countries would not achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 7 and ECOWAS’ 2020/30 energy goals.
The SDG 7 and the ECOWAS energy goal aim to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
“Indeed, the ECOWAS region, with less than half its citizens having access to modern energy services, is consistently deprived of the full benefits of electricity for socio-economic development,” he said.
He said given the important role that energy played and its strong link to development, ECOWAS member states should work assiduously to attain universal access to electricity in the next decade.
“We have the responsibility to lift our people out of poverty by providing them with the right infrastructure and systems needed for their development. We therefore owe it a duty to make the right investments particularly, into the electricity sector, with special focus on rural population as urgently as possible, if we are to meet our ECOWAS Regional and SDG7 commitments,” he said.
Dr Bawumia said Ghana would continue to lead the way in investing in renewal energy to improve the country’s power generation mix to ensure reliable high-quality energy service the minimum cost to all the sectors of the economy.
To this end, he said the government had initiated numerous renewable power projects and passed the Renewable Energy Act 2011 (Act 832) to facilitate investment in the renewable energy sector.
The Executive Director of ECREE, Mahama Kappiah said currently, less than 600 clean energy mini-grids were operational and fell far short of the regional target of 60,000 clean energy mini-grids.
He said the share of renewable energy in the overall electricity mix in the sub-region was 26 per cent and fell short of the 35 per cent target by 2020 and 48 by 2030.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Mines and Energy, Sediko Douka said the forum would help the member countries on the progress they had made in promoting renewable energy in their respective countries and in the sub-region