Journal article

Boosting the Electricity Sector in West Africa: an Integrative Vision

To improve peoples’ living conditions, Western African countries need to considerably reinforce their electricity supply infrastructures. Retrofitting the existing installations and constructing new generation and transmission facilities require significant financial resources which are very difficult to attract due to the countries specific economic and political conditions. This paper discusses the low performance of the electric power sector of the West African countries and the solution they envisaged to cope with their present electricity crisis. It turns out that the cooperative approach the electricity systems are undertaking within the West African Power Pool project, although positive in number of initiatives, is not sufficient to cope with the challenge of attracting the required funds to meet future regional electricity demand. Another concept is proposed, based on an integrative approach that attempts to solve the capacity needs for the whole region through a competitive market. The restructuring underlying that vision is discussed. It is concluded that implementation of the proposed concept will require a necessary voluntarism and a strong commitment of the countries.

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