Marcel de Souza, President of the Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has launched on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, in Abomey-Calavi, Benin, the construction works of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) Information and Coordination Centre (ICC).
The works total cost is of 13.32 billion francs CFA, of which 6.23 billion for construction and 7.9 billion for equipment, are financed by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
They relate to the construction of an infrastructure comprising three main complexes, namely the Information and Coordination Center, consisting of a control room, as well as four server rooms, an administrative block Intended to host the WAPP Secretariat General, as well as a technical block including different buildings.
According to Marcel de Souza, the Center will enable the West African Power Pool, based in Cotonou, Benin, to coordinate the various national and regional control centers in charge of operating the system and manage the Regional electricity market.
It was the opportunity for the head of ECOWAS Commission to recall the importance of electricity in the development of any nation.
« Without low-cost, high-quality electric power, there is no job creation, no industrialization and no development; without electricity, we can not fight poverty » said Marcel de Souza.
After referring to the many ECOWAS initiatives in power area, he said that electricity problems in West Africa are related to production, transport and marketing. In view of these problems, he noted that none of the fifteen Member States of the Community is autonomous in power.
Concerning the ICC, he clarified that his role is to regulate and constantly monitor the various information related to the interconnected market of ECOWAS. Its role is also to ensure a number of benefits so that investors can be motivated.
The WAPP Secretary General, Siengui Apollinaire Ki said that the construction of the ICC is a major step in achieving the objective of the regional electrical integration assigned to its institution by ECOWAS heads of States and Government.
According to the Head of the European Union delegation in Benin, Joseph Coll, said that the Center will allow the regional electricity market to become a reality, with a view to encouraging ongoing investments, estimated at around 3 billion euros.
« This essential contribution to the establishment of the regional electricity market will be a trigger that will encourage the mobilization of investment, especially from the private sector » said Mr. Coll.
He added that the ICC is undoubtedly unique in the world, because of its regional dimension, the symbol it represents for West Africa and the technical challenges it faces.
“The construction of this regional center will benefit the West African population through easy access to quality and affordable energy which, as everyone knows, is the basis for economic”.