The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Mr. Kassi Brou, has described the regional electricity market, currently under construction, as fundamental to the development of West Africa.

During his visit to the Accra-based ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), Brou reiterated that energy production is vital to the viability of the market, adding that the regional organization is already formulating policies that will attract investments.

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According to him, ECOWAS’ focus was looking forward to the needed funding in the production of electricity, ensuring transmission and distribution lines for cross-border power exchange and access to the local population.

He said, the body was also interested in having a good legal environment “so that private investors can know exactly, in a very predictable and transparent way, what the rules are and so can invest in the sector”.

In June 2018, the first phase of the Regional Electricity Market was launched in Cotonou, Benin Republic. Brou said the second phase will introduce a competitive market and help promote efficiency.

He is optimistic that the electricity market will ensure an increase in investment, considering the existence of a free trade area and the free circulation of persons, goods and services in the region.

A statement quoted him to have said, “We are trying to make energy available at a competitive cost to every country, and at the lowest cost possible for community citizens.”

Brou maintained that ECOWAS was preoccupied with achieving the objective that has been set for energy, including increasing the availability of energy to the people, as well as cost-effectiveness and efficiency in energy production and gradually transform the whole mix to renewable energy.

While admitting that COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant consequences, including the lockdown last year in the region, He also listed other challenges faced by the organisation as security issues, especially in the Sahel, the Lake Chad region and the Gulf of Guinea. stressing that the decisions of two ECOWAS extra-ordinary summits are being implemented to address the security challenges.

He said: “ECOWAS countries are on course in the vaccination programme, and with support from ECOWAS through the West African Health Organisation (WAHO), we are helping to procure more vaccines”,

Brou maintained that there are lessons ECOWAS needs to learn and steps to take so that the economies of member states can be rapidly re-launched.