23 June 2015, Lagos – Despite the acute power deficit in Nigeria, the country still gives undisclosed quantity of electricity to Niger and Republic of Benin, as part of the government-to-government efforts to boost regional integration in the West African sub-region.
Speaking at a special session of a just-concluded power conference in Lagos, a former Minister of Power, Professor Barth Nnaji, who confirmed this development, stated that progress was being made in both western and southern Africa in the areas of integrating power supply.
He noted that the West African Power Pool (WAPP) is a body established for West Africa, with delegates from the various countries of the sub-region in that body.
According to him, there are about 18 countries in West Africa but four countries are islands, which cannot be part of a grid.
“But we are all talking as part of the power pool. We also have a regulator. The beginning of progress is when you have a regulator. If you have the regulator, then you can begin to put things together and that is already in place in the case of West Africa. So, we do have support of the various governments,” he said.
Nnaji further stated that Nigeria’s Ministry of Power would always give maximum support to the concept of West African Power Pool, adding that the concept is already working to some extent.
“Nigeria gives power to Niger Republic. Niger’s Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Foumakoye Gado is here to agree that we do. And the way it works is that if you have a country-to-country agreement, then that power must go to the other country, no matter what, unless your system totally collapses. But by agreement, it must go. We give power to Benin Republic and there is plan to increase it. There is plan to build a 330 KV transmission line from Lagos to Republic of Benin to increase power supply to that country. So, these are things that help government to support the integration we are talking about,” Nnaji said.
The West African Power Pool (WAPP) is a specialised institution of ECOWAS, which covers 14 of the 15 countries of the regional economic community.
The countries include: Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
WAPP, which prides itself as an international organisation of public interest, is to ensure Regional Power System integration and realisation of a Regional Electricity Market.
WAPP is made up of public and private generation, transmission and distribution companies involved in the operation of the electricity in West Africa, with 26 member companies to date.
The body was created by Decision A/DEC.5/12/99 of the 22nd Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government with the aim of promoting reliable power supply in the West African sub-region.
Subsequently in January 2006, through Decisions A/DEC.18/01/06 and A/DEC.20/01/06, the 29th Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Niamey respectively adopted the Articles of Agreement for the establishment and functioning of WAPP, and granted the WAPP Secretariat the status of a specialised institution of ECOWAS.
On the July 5, 2006, ECOWAS signed on behalf of WAPP a Headquarters Agreement with the Government of Benin, conferring on it diplomatic immunities required to operate effectively within the entire ECOWAS Member States.
The headquarters of WAPP Secretariat is presently located at Akpakpa, Cotonou, Republic of Benin.