The Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman has explained that Nigeria’s involvement in the North Core 330KV transmission project would boost trade among countries covered by the project tackling the energy deficit in countries.
The $570 million project which takes power from Nigeria, through Benin to Niger, Togo to Burkina Faso is about 875km in length.
Engr. Mamman who spoke in Abuja at the opening of the first session of the joint ministerial steering committee noted that currently, “the limited access to electricity as well as the endemic electricity shortages constitutes a bottleneck to the socioeconomic development of ECOWAS Member States.
“Two-thirds of the sub-Saharan Africa’s population, approximately 600 million people, is without access to electricity, despite the region’s significant endowment of natural resources.
“The lack of reliable and affordable electricity significantly constrains economic activity and growth in these countries and affects disproportionally the poorest segment of the population of the sub-region, which in turn, has a profound impact on health and social service delivery particularly vulnerable groups such as elderly people, children and women”, he added.
The Minister added that “as a result of high economic growth, rapid urbanisation, large population increases, and governments’ active policies to expand access within ECOWAS Member countries, industrial and commercial electricity demand is projected to enjoy sustained growth in the coming decades”.
Also speaking at the meeting, ECOWAS Energy Commissioner, Sedikou Douka described the project as the flagship of the regional group, saying it will significantly boost trade and cooperation among member states and peoples.
He explained that the project “aims at connecting four countries involved by 330KV high voltage transmission line to facilitate electricity trade in the sub-region, to provide technical assistance, to promote trade agreements between its participants and to extend access to electricity to the populations along the transmission line.
“This project will enable an initial energy exchange estimated at about 430MW, which could reach more than 600MW, five to ten years after its commissioning”, he added.