The West African Power Pool (WAPP) held its 49th Executive Board meeting in Cotonou, the Republic of Benin on the 17th of April, 2021.
Declaring the meeting open, the WAPP Chairman, Engr. Sule Abdulaziz expressed gratitude to the Government and people of Benin, and in particular, His Excellency Mr. Patrice Talon, President of the Republic of Benin, for the warm welcome the Board members received in Cotonou and for providing office accommodation for the WAPP Secretariat since 2006.
The Chairman while welcoming members of the Board to the meeting, stressed the need for member utilities to pay their dues promptly, to enable WAPP to continue to discharge its duties to member states. He commended member utilities that have paid their dues for the year 2021 despite the effects of COVID-19, and equally encouraged others who were yet to do so, to endeavor to pay. He acknowledged that it is commonplace knowledge that the world economy has been negatively impacted by the COVID 19 pandemic, with attendant financial difficulties for all businesses. He however noted that there was the need for WAPP to build resilience at this critical time, to enable the Pool achieve its goals.
Engr. Abdulaziz expressed satisfaction with the reports on the implementation status of WAPP priority projects which show that the projects were progressing despite the COVID 19 pandemic and its disruptive effect. He assured the meeting that related challenges such as Right of Way (RoW) issues were being addressed and commended the Secretary General for the successful negotiation with WAPP Technical and Financial Partners on the financing of a significant number of WAPP priority projects.
Speaking at the meeting, the Secretary-General of WAPP, Siengui Apollinaire KI disclosed that within the first quarter of the year 2021, Niger Republic inaugurated NIGELEC’s 90MW PPP-built crude oil plant and in Ghana, ERERA/WAPP Joint Technical Working Group also met to discuss the consolidation of activities of Phase 1 of the Regional Electricity Market and pre-Phase 2 Market Roadmap among others.
M. Apollinaire KI also gave a brief update on the implementation status of other WAPP priority projects including the Burkina Faso Regional Solar Park, which he said was at the pre-qualification stage, while the Mali Regional Solar Park; the Gambia Regional Solar Park; the Niger Regional Solar Park, and the WAPP Median Dorsal were all undergoing feasibility studies.
The 49th Session of the Executive Board examined several issues, including reports of the Human Resources and Governance Committee (HRGC), the study on e-learning strategy and the networking strategy of the regional Centers of Excellence, the cost of participating in the Regional Electricity Market as well as guidelines for sending Operators to the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre. The meeting also ratified five WAPP Organizational Committees for the year 2021.
A comprehensive presentation was also made on the stage of implementation of three main projects being executed by WAPP, including the Cote d’Ivoire – Liberia – Sierra Leone – Guinea interconnection line (CLSG) project, the L’Organization pour la Mise en Valeur du Fleuve Gambie (OMVG) loop project, and the International Coordination Center (ICC) project. Critical issues affecting the implementation of WAPP projects as well as the way forward were equally discussed.
As part of the meeting, Members of the WAPP Executive Board undertook a trip to the site of the ongoing construction of the ICC, to inspect/assess the level of works on the project.
The Board consists of fifteen (15) members made up of; eleven permanent members, three rotating members, and one honorary member. The permanent members of the board are the MD/CEO of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), who is the Chairman of the Board; Director-General of Côte d’Ivoire Energies (CI-ENERGIES) who is the Vice-Chairperson; and the Secretary-General.
Other members include the DGs of Communauté Electrique du Bénin (CEB) Togo; Electricitè de GuinèeEDG; The Ghana Grid Company Ltd. (GRIDCO); Société Béninoise d'Energie Electrique(BEE); Société Nationale d’Electricité du Sénégal (Senelec); Société de Gestion de l'Energie de Manantali (SOGEM); Société Nationale d’Electricité du Burkina Faso (SONABEL) and Volta River Authority (VRA). The rotating members are Energie du Mali EDM-SA; Mainstream Energy; Northern Electricity Distribution Company (NEDCO) and an Honorary Member, Engr. Joseph Makoju.