Validation Workshop on Access to Energy underway
Friday, August 03, 2012
The Ecowas Commission in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Energy of the Republic of The Gambia Thursday commenced a three-day validation workshop on the Ecowas Regional Action Plan for the Capacity Building on Access to Energy Services, at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
validation workshop is an important component of the strategy to implement the
Ecowas/WAEMU Regional White Paper. The action plan was developed following an
assessment of the capacity development needs for access to energy services
conducted in 2010 in Ecowas member states including The Gambia.
The validation workshop is designed in two components -validation of the draft Ecowas Regional Action Plan for Capacity Building on Access to Energy Services and the validation of the Draft National Investment Programme on Access to Energy Services in The Gambia.
It will also accord technical experts the opportunity to thoroughly review the Draft National Investment Programme on Access to Energy Services in The Gambia.
the confab open on behalf of the president of the Republic, Teneng Mba Jaiteh,
the minister of Petroleum, said energy is the backbone of the socio-economic
development of any country. According to her, there is indeed a direct
relationship between the absence of adequate energy and poverty indicators such
as infant mortality, illiteracy, life expectancy and total fertility rate.
added that inadequate access to energy also exacerbates the rural-urban drift
in most developing countries, by driving people to seek better living
Jaiteh also remarked that access to affordable and sustainable modern energy
services is crucial to human wellbeing and to a county's economic development.
continued: “It is in recognition of these facts that Ecowas/WAEMU issued a
white paper, in January 2006, on access to modern energy services, which
established target for member states for increasing access to energy services
to rural, urban and Peri-urban communities by 2015.
These targets include among
others, access to modern cooking fuel by the entire population of Ecowas member
states by 2015; at least 60% people living in the rural areas to have access to
productive energy services and at least 60% of our population to have access to
an individual electricity supply.”
Petroleum minister disclosed that 35% of the total population of The Gambia has
access to electricity (i.e about 60% of the urban population and only 6% of our
rural population). She added that the proportion of households with access to
improved cooking stoves and modern cooking fuel as well as mechanical power is
also very low.
told the gathering that in order to address this situation and in response to
the Ecowas/WAEMU white paper, the government of The Gambia embarked onthe development of a National
Investment Programme on Access to Modern Energy Services. She
extended deepest appreciation and gratitude to Ecowas, UNDP and the European
Commission for the support they continue to provide to the Gambia energy
earlier, Bayaornibe Dabire, the director of Energy, Ecowas Commission, who
represented Ebrima Njie, the commissioner for Infrastructure at the Ecowas
Commission, said that the white paper is an energy policy document and also a
high political commitment among Ecowas member states to promote access to
He explained that the white paper is one of the main documents that established a direct link between energy access and poverty reduction. “It also set a clear recognition that energy deeply influence the wellbeing of individuals; energy access enables access to water; energy access increases agricultural productivity; energy access enables access to health services, education and job creation, among other things,” he said.
He added that Ecowas/UEMOA white paper for access to energy services includes its own implementation strategy that relies on creating enabling environment for a rapid growth of access to energy services in favour of rural and peri-urban populations.
Touray, the programme specialist, poverty and MDGs at the UNDP, who represented
the UNDP resident coordinator in The Gambia, recalled that in 2000 at the
Millennium Summit, 189 nations made a promise to free the people of the world
from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. He said this pledge turned into
the eight Millennium Development Goals, 21 targets and over 60 indicators.
“Although energy as such is not explicitly mentioned in the MDGs, access to
modern energy services remains an essentials condition for sustainable
development and the attainment of the MDGs. This is particularly true for the
Ecowas region wherein the rural and peri-urban population continue to lack
access to modern energy services. It is equally generally accepted that many of
the 1.3 billion without access to electricity and the 2.3 billion who must rely
on tradition biomass live on the African continent.”
further stated that the national investment programme on access to energy
services in The Gambia is inline with the regional action plan, and is aimed at
providing access to electricity to 100% of urban and Peri-urban households,
with access to mechanical power expected to reach 60%.
Mamma Nyang, the deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of Energy, who doubles as the chairman of the Gambia National Multi-Sectoral Committee on access to energy services, chaired the opening ceremony.
Author: Sheriff Barry