The Commission for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will today accept bids for 11 vehicles to be implemented in the West African Power Pool’s (WAPP) multinational North Core Regional Interconnector Project.
The WAPP—a cooperative framework of state electricity companies under an ECOWAS umbrella—intends to leverage North Core to boost the electricity trade between Nigeria, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. Blueprints designed to minimise the associated costs include a 330 kV transmission line across the four countries, to the tune of $550 million.
North Core is the latest in a string of strategic growth initiatives—with a distinctive emphasis on renewables—from the African Development Bank, which has reportedly staked roughly $120 million in the project and plans to boost its climate financing to $25 billion by 2025. German engineering giant Siemens has also announced a multi-billion dollar deal to overhaul Nigeria’s existing power grid with a strategy that saw Egyptian generation increase by over 40%, stoking substantial investor interest in Africa’s largest economy.
Expect the medium-term trajectory of West Africa’s energy sector to be sustained by capital infusions from development agencies and a budding rebound in global oil prices, which buoyed energy company shares enough to lift Nigerian stocks to an eight-week high on Wednesday. While Africa’s energy transition will likely regain momentum as the threat of COVID-19 dissipates—given the comparative resilience of the power sector and the importance of sustainable access in the management of future health crises—West Africa may be poised to adopt a more central role in the global market for fossil fuels, as it reportedly holds up to a third of the continent’s oil and natural gas reserves.
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Daniel is an analyst and editor on the Current Developments team. He contributes regularly to the Daily Brief, focusing primarily on European, Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan politics.