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ECOWAS Status Report

| 12 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In recent years, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), comprising 15 Member States,i has emerged as one of the most active and dynamic regional economic communities on the African continent. Expanding access to modern, reliable, and affordable energy services is a key priority, prompting inter-state cooperation in crucial areas including capacity building, policy development and implementation, and investment. Recognising the critical role that sustainable energy plays in catalysing social, economic, and industrial development across the region, ECOWAS Member States formally inaugurated the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in 2010 to “contribute to the sustainable economic, social and environmental development of West Africa by improving access to modern, reliable and affordable energy services, energy security and reduction of energy related externalities.” Drawing on data from the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX) and a network of contributors and researchers across the region, the ECOWAS Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report supports ECREEE’s efforts to increase the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency in West Africa by providing a comprehensive regional review of renewable energy and energy efficiency developments, evolving policy landscapes, market trends and related activities, investments in renewable energy and off-grid energy solutions, and the crucial nexus between energy access and gender. REGIONAL OVERVIEW With an expanding population of just over 334.6 million in mid- 2014, ECOWAS Member States represent approximately one- third of sub-Saharan Africa’s total population. They comprise a diverse set of demographic, socio-economic, and social contexts. Population size ranges from Cabo Verde (539,000) to Nigeria (177,156,000), while gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ranges from USD 800 in Niger to USD 4,400 in Cabo Verde. Overall, most ECOWAS Member States continue to face major development challenges, with 13 Member States classified as having “Low Human Development” by the United Nations. These factors, along with demographic trends including urbanisation and accelerating economic development, contribute to and are influenced by the region’s severe energy challenges. Given the positive correlation between energy access and human and economic development, expanding access to modern energy services, including electricity and modern cooking fuels, is an enormous and urgent priority for the ECOWAS region. As of 2014, the region remains heavily dependent on traditional biomass resources like wood and charcoal, particularly in rural areas. In 2011, sub-Saharan Africa accounted for almost half (47.6%) of all people without access to electricity and is the only region in the world where the rate of progress in expanding access to electricity and non-solid fuels fell behind population growth between 1990 and 2010. Within ECOWAS, national electricity access rates vary widely, from Niger—which had an electrification rate of just 9% in 2011—to Cabo Verde, which has achieved nearly universal access. However, national rates mask wide disparities between access in urban versus rural areas, which remain underserved by grid networks supplying major cities. Within ECOWAS, the estimated share of rural populations with access to electricity ranges from just 1% in Guinea and Sierra Leone to 70% in Cabo Verde. Access to modern cooking fuels is also severely limited. In sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, the average share of national populations relying on solid fuels for cooking is just over 79%; within ECOWAS, this figure rises to 85.7%. Energy security in the ECOWAS region is threatened by various factors including poor system reliability, limited infrastructure, fuel import dependence, and heavy reliance on fossil fuels, hydropower, and traditional biomass resources. In the electricity sector, the growing gap between generation capacity and demand is exacerbated by high commercial and technical losses—estimated at 21.5% in West Africa in 2010. Dependence on either fossil fuels or hydropower can pose additional challenges, leaving countries vulnerable to volatile global fuel prices, variations in annual and i. Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.

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