Access to electricity in the ECOWAS region



Despite the vast energy resources available in the ECOWAS region, almost 180 million people have problems of access to electricity, that is, about 60% of the population. The ECOWAS Member States are challenged with threatening factors of energy security such as poor system reliability, limited infrastructure, fuel import dependence, heavy reliance on fossil fuels, hydropower, and traditional biomass resources. Electricity generation depends on 65% of fossil fuel. Besides, the growing gap between generation capacity and demand is exacerbated by high commercial and technical losses estimated at 21.5%. These factors have made the region have the lowest modern energy consumption rates in the world.

In response to these barriers, the Regional Programme entitled "Improving the Governance of the Energy Sector in West Africa (AGoSE-AO)", has been formulated and aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double energy efficiency to reduce total energy consumption, double the share of renewable energies (RE) in the global energy mix. In this context, the Technical Assistance to ECOWAS for the Implementation of the 11th EDF Energy Governance Programme in West Africa (AGoSE-AO) ECOWAS Region” has the objective to provide support to the regional institutions, in line with their Capacity Strengthening needs, in the implementation of activities related to the AgoSE-AO programme.

The implementation period of the TA project is between April 2018 and end of April 2022, with a budget of €8,369,330.  


million people have problems with access to electricity

How we are doing it

Given the vast scope and number of activities under the TA contract, the NTU TA team is responsible for providing the following technical assistance to the specialised regional institutions (ECOWAS, WAEMU, ECREEE WAPP, ERERA):

ECOWAS Energy Directorate

  • Drafting of an ECOWAS energy policy: Updating, strategic analysis, action plans, reporting, dissemination, with the aim to: (i) harmonise legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks in order to promote private investment in the energy sector especially in energy efficiency and renewable energy; (ii) develop the regional electricity market by promoting border exchanges within ECOWAS(iii) ensure universal access to modern energy services, under the best conditions of quality and sustainability, and at the least cost;
  • Breaking down the regional energy policy into national activities
  • Assistance with the creation of a scholarship programme
  • Creation of a study facility for all countries for which energy is not a focal sector
  • Creation of a regional energy database and an Energy Information System West Africa, providing relevant and reliable information for efficient and coherent energy development policies for the energy sector.
  • Preparation of the ECOWAS Electricity Code, with the purpose of: (i) making the electricity sector more attractive and secure for potential investors / promoters at the regional level; (ii) incorporating provisions for the exploitation of renewable energy sources, so that the region can truly align with relevant international guidelines and take advantage of related initiatives; (iii) providing electricity users with better quality of service, at an affordable cost, in line with the principle of continuity, non-discrimination and integration; (iv) contributing to the improvement of the governance of the electricity sector at regional level, in terms of transparency, accountability, solvency and integration.
  • Collaboration with the Energy Charter Secretariat (ECS) designed to contribute to the attainments of the global objectives of the AGOSE-AO project, but also improve the capacity of ECOWAS Member states and experts in the energy sector, through: (i) preparation of Accession of ECOWAS Member States in the Energy Charter Treaty, (ii) Preparation of Energy Investment Risk assessments for ECOWAS member states, (iii)Capacity building, (iv) Policy Dialogue, organisation and (v) participation in meetings, ministerial conferences and work groups etc.


  • Definition of renewable energies corridors (steered together with WAPP)
  • Creation of an institutional and regulatory framework of renewable energy (RE) standards and norms
  • Harmonisation of legislative, institutional and regulatory frameworks, to promote investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and access to modern energy
  • Definition of standards and certifications in the renewable energy sector including bioenergy
  • Definition of standards and certifications for Energy Efficiency (EE) in buildings
  • Support the development of RE in rural electrification
  • Various training in RE and EE
  • Support for the transformation of CERMI


  • Development of rules and procedures for the regional electricity market
  • Unified regulation of the electricity market


  • Support to the Implementation the ECOWAS Generation & transmission Master plan 2019-2023, with due consideration to sustainability, affordability and energy efficiency.
  • Operationalisation of the Information and Coordination Centre (ICC), responsible for promoting operational coordination between Transmission Owning/Operating Members
  • Operation and management of the electricity grid and single market.


The work of NTU within this Technical Assistance is contributing to the increase of regional integration in the energy sector in West Africa. In particular, the services provided are contributing to:

  • the improvement of the energy policy, strategy and planning framework in the region
  • the harmonisation of the national institutional, legislative and regulatory frameworks, to promote investments in renewable energy, energy efficiency and universal access to modern energy,
  • the development of the regional electricity market, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy in the energy mix,
  • the strengthening the capacities of the energy stakeholders to fulfil their role.

Second Steering Committee

Extract from the Zoom presentation at the workshop for the validation of the ECOWAS Energy Information System (ECOWAS-EIS) in June 2020.