By Millicent Senava Mannah
The ECOWAS Energy and Mines Department, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, has held a regional workshop at the Family Kingdom Resort, Aberdeen in Freetown on the 23rd May, 2023 to discuss ECOWAS Energy Information System (EIS).
Giving an overview of the event, the Chairperson intimated that the EIS is set of techniques for the collection, recording, processing and dissemination of energy information, and how the EIS aims at providing country-specific and regional consolidated data and information on all aspects of energy situation in West Africa.
Continuing the Chairperson said it also entails consumption, production, supply, sources of energy, flows, amongst others and how it facilitates sound regional energy policy formulation and long-term energy sector planning.
The workshop formed part of activities earmarked under the programme “Improving the Energy Governance in West Africa” (AGoSE-AO). It was set up within the framework of a cooperation agreement between the ECOWAS Commission, UEMOA and the European Union (EU) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
ECOWAS Director for Energy and Mines, Mr. Morlaye Bangoura commended the organizing committee and the Ministry of Energy for making the engagement a success.
He maintained that energy plays a pivotal role in driving economic growth, development and also in improving livelihoods and welfare.
The Director noted that a credible, consistent, reliable and regularly updated Energy Information System provides data and information for better planning, design and monitoring of energy sector policies.
Morlaye Bangoura averred that it is in that context that the ECOWAS Commission, with the support of the European Union, has put in place the ECOWAS Energy System within a framework called; ‘Improving Energy Governance in the ECOWAS region’.
“The system provides, among other things, information on the region’s economic energy situation, economic and social indicators, energy infrastructure policies and regulatory information and carbon emissions,’’ he disclosed.
According to him, it is a complete information platform that can be consulted by decision makers as well as the general public and went on to note that this is the fourth workshop in a series and how the first three were held in Nigeria, Niger and Ivory Coast.
‘’This year’s workshop in Freetown will engage in productive discussions, share best practices and we will learn from each other’s experiences,’’ he stated revealing that their aim is to enhance the collection, analysis and dissemination of energy statistics, ensuring that they align with international standards and methodologies.
“Together we can build robust energy statistics that will facilitate evidence-based decision making, attract investment and promote sustainable energy development in our region,” he expressed optimism concluding with a firm commitment for ECOWAS to work in close collaboration with its member States to sustain the system and transform it into a reference tool for the region.
A representative from Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Energy highlighted the Medium-term Development Plan key policy actions which, he said, encompasses a range of energy priorities.
“These priorities include enhancing generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, investing in local renewable technologies, improving energy governance, promoting women’s involvement in renewable energy development, extending electrification to rural communities and expanding the national grid to remote areas,” he informed.
He emphasized that the workshop will facilitate resource allocation and enable comprehensive planning for energy projects, while also ensuring efficient delivery and implementation.
According to him, Sierra Leone stands to gain from the supervision and implementation of its energy project which aims at providing modern energy access to all segments of the population and ensure sustainable development through energy security, concluding that at the end of the workshop, the country will possess the capability to effectively collect, organize and manage energy data.
Head of the Electricity Generation Transmission Company, Ing David Kamara intimated that the relevance of adequate and accurate data collection in any human activity cannot be overemphasized, furthering that, it is particularly so for the energy sector.
He maintained energy plays a key role in virtually every human activity and that in any project development, if the data is wrong, everything could go wrong as well.
Ing Kamara disclosed that they are presently reviewing pre-feasibility studies done by the Millennium Challenge Social Programme for possible energy programmes for their intervention.
He expressed hope that at the end of the programme, they will be better informed about what is happening elsewhere and how to collect data in order to prepare projects and programmes to address certain issues.