At least 600 million people forming two-thirds of the sub-Saharan Africa’s population lack access to electricity, said the Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman.
Engr. Mamman stated this at the inaugural meeting of the Joint Ministerial Steering Committee (JMSC) of the WAPP North Core project in Abuja Thursday.
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“Nowadays, 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 sub-Saharan Africa’s population, approximately 600 million people, are without access to electricity, despite the region’s significant endowment of natural resources.”
He noted that the 330 kilovolts (kV) North Core power transmission project by the West African Power Pool (WAPP) spans about 875 kilometres to interconnect Nigeria, Niger, Benin, Togo and Burkina Faso.
Speaking further on the $568 million project, he said: “I am quite confident, will result in the opening and evaluation of the bids for the Substations as planned to be completed by the end of July 2021, and that contract negotiations already started with potential EPC contractors for the transmission lines will be completed in time for the start of construction by August 2021.”
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Energy and Mines, Mr Sedikou Douka, said the new transmission line “will allow initial energy exchange of 430 megawatts (MW) which could reach 600MW in five to ten years after its launch and could boost trade exchange which is at five percent now among the 14 interconnected countries of ECOWAS.”
The Secretary General of WAPP, Siengui Apollinaire Ki, said: “The project started operations in May 2019 following the recruitment of key staff. The completion of this regional interconnection project, which is scheduled to be commissioned in the second half of 2023.