Increasing Electricity Supply for Development in Selected ECOWAS member States

Project Report, 2018

24 Pages


Table of Contents



2.1 Electricity Supply vs Demand in ECOWAS
2.2 Current Challenges:
2.2.1. Electricity Gap
2.2.2 Distribution Value Chain
2.3. Impact of Electricity supply on Economic growth
2.3.1 Case Study: Job creation through rehabilitation of the grid in Mozambique

3.1 Independent Power Producers
3.2. West African Gas Pipeline
3.2.1. Objective
3.2.2. Challenges
3.2.3. Regional Development in Gas Sector
3.2.4. Opportunity
3.2.5. Commercial Viability
3.3 West African Solar Corridor
3.5 Distributed Energy Sources - Case Study Côte d’Ivoire




Firstly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Coordinator of the ECOWAS Community Development Program Dr Guevera A. YAO for the continuous support of my study and related research, for his patience, motivation, and immense provision of knowledge. His guidance was impeccable throughout the duration of my research and completion of this research paper. I could not have imagined having a better advisor and mentor for this study.

Moreover, I would like to thank Dr. Simeon Koffi and Dr Kolawole Wumi for their insightful comments and encouragement, but also for the challenging questions asked which incented me to widen my research from various perspectives.

My sincere thanks also go to Dr. Abdoulaye Zonon and Mr Akpa Joseph Djedjero who provided me with an opportunity to join their team, gave me access to regional data basis as well as research facilities. Without their precious support, it would not have been possible to conduct this research.

Last but not the least, I would like to thank my family: in particular my mother and my sister for supporting me spiritually throughout writing this research work and my life in general.

Table of Figures

Figure 1: Relationship between electricity consumption and GDP

Figure 2: Status of Power Supply in ECOWAS

Figure 3: Power Supply in ECOWAS

Figure 4: Capacity Utilisation

Table 1: Electricity Supply, Demand, Gap 2016 in ECOWAS Member States.

Table 2: Electricity Access in Africa 2013

Table 3: Rural and Urban Population electrification statistics

Table 4: Total exports: Anare/Direcion Generale des Douanes – Customs.


The privatized electricity firms also referred to as IPP’s may have been freed of the state influence that previously made their operations difficult, but these utilities still encounter structural problems that continue to halt growth in the power sector. These include lack of gas, rising debt of unpaid electricity bills and the country's outdated poorly maintained transmission network (Odedairo, B.2013).

Many of the new power operators have struggled to make advances, especially as they have had to contend with obsolete facilities requiring substantial investments to upgrade and expand.

This paper aims to illustrate the importance of access to sustainable electricity supply in the ECOWAS region and on how to close the current electricity gap through a 3-way solution; mainly the increase in fossil power generation, renewable energy generation through Solar PV and the increased use of Off-Grid Power systems to provide the rural population with electricity.

This proposed project for increase of renewable energy in West Africa is referred to as “West African Solar Corridor”: And the Natural Gas project for increasing power generation in West Africa is called West African Gas Pipeline (WAGPC), endorsed by ECOWAS.

The paper will firstly consider the reasons for the widening gap between supply and demand of electricity in Nigeria and the ECOWAS region. Thereafter, the potentials and opportunities in solar and natural gas for increasing power supply in West Africa will be analysed. It should be noted that the data for the West African Pipeline is limited.

The study suggests that the investment in new and improved methods for the generation of electricity is a necessity to ensure sustainability in supply and also eliminate the electricity gap permanently which will result in the overall furtherance in environmental, economic and social aspects. ECOWAS, therefore, provides for solutions that introduce renewable energy solutions to overcome current challenges in off peak generation and Natural Gas for Base Load generation of electricity to stabilise electricity supply so the demand can be met.


The West African region lacks consistent power supply to the rising demand resulting in an electricity gap which is yet to be tackled. On one hand, centralised systems have remained limited in challenging the deficit, on the other IPPs have been emerging to complement existing power installations. However, given the seen challenges it is crucial to consider other avenues that can assist in tackling the problem that come with the electricity gap. A solid solution presents the still poorly exploited option of incorporating renewable energy sources and the increase of the use of Natural Gas for electricity generation in the region.

An electricity gap refers to the gap between current energy use and optimal energy use. Different contribution factors can be noted such as the loss of electricity (generation transmission distribution), insufficient usage of electricity due to poor and obsolete infrastructure and the rise in population.

Over the past two decades, the power sector worldwide has made a dramatic change in terms of its input fuels, drastic increases in efficiency and the introduction of renewables to the energy mix. One thing has not changed much, centralized power plants still provide the biggest share of electricity in most industrialized nations and emerging economies like Nigeria. At the same time, this centralization has led to many insufficiencies of the power grid: large amounts of electricity are lost during transmission, reliability is not guaranteed and fossil fuels like coal, nuclear power have fallen into disrepute due to their negative impact on the environment (Oladele-Emmanuel, B. D.2013).

The evident lack of power infrastructure prevents growth in the West African region and presents an issue that requires addressing as member states experience power scarcity which lead to expensive short- term solutions. The dilemma that occurs as a result is the following: no security of supply, no sustainable solutions, no cost-effective solutions.

The general objective of this paper is to analyze the potentials and opportunities in solar and natural gas for increase of power generation in the ECOWAS region. In terms of the specific objectives, the paper analyses the opportunities of utility scale solar generation and assesses the need for increase of natural gas from Nigeria to meet the electricity demand in the region.

The document will firstly present an outlook on how the energy sector is being managed in the West African region, which will include the supply/ demand scarcity and its challenges involved. Thereafter, options and solutions in tackling the challenges will be looked at. These suggest steps that can be taken by the ECOWAS member states by laying out the objectives of the anticipated projects and opportunities that can arise as a result.


Correlation between electricity consumption and economic Growth

The graph below shows West Africa’s consumption rates are far below other emerging markets. Average electricity consumption in the ECOWAS region, is 150 kilowatt-hours per capita or below. This is a fraction of consumption rates in Brazil, India, and South Africa see graph below Relationship between electricity consumption and GDP. Countries with a higher electricity consumption like Germany and France have a higher GDP. The hypothesis here is therefore that increased electricity consumption within the region could amount to an increased GDP. The region has the ability to take development of the sector to the next level. Success will propel economic growth of the region and greatly enhance the lives of hundreds of millions of people, as well as potentially create a thriving electricity-supply industry and and hundreds of thousands of employment opportunities, temporary and permanent jobs across various industries. (US Energy Information Administration, 2013)

Figure 1: Relationship between electricity consumption and GDP

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2.1 Electricity Supply vs Demand in ECOWAS

The current supply of electricity of the ECOWAS region is about 15 GW while the demand stands at 24 GW which puts the region short of 9 GW. Challenges such as facilitating non- updated infrastructure contribute to the decline of power transmission and distribution.

The most effective solution to address the problem is a project that has its focus on the investment of infrastructure.

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Table 1: Electricity Supply, Demand, Gap 2016 in ECOWAS Member States

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Increasing Electricity Supply for Development in Selected ECOWAS member States
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increasing, electricity, supply, development, selected, ecowas, states
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Christian Elemele (Author), 2018, Increasing Electricity Supply for Development in Selected ECOWAS member States, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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