Work on the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) electricity interconnection project, known as ” Northern Dorsal “, was launched on Tuesday 22 February atGorou-Banda in Niamey in Niger. The kick-off of the activities was given by the President Mohamed Bazoum of Niger and his counterpart from Ghana, current President of the ECOWAS Conference of Heads of State and Government, Nana Akufo-Addo.
With a total cost of US$568.2 million, the 330kV North Dorsal Regional Power Interconnection Project is being piloted by the ECOWAS Commission through the West African Power Pool (WAPP), which is responsible for its implementation. Indeed, it is funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the French Development Agency, the European Union and a counterpart from the Federal Government of Nigeria, according to Nigerian press reports.
Thus, the objective of the Benin-Burkina Faso-Nigeria-Niger electricity interconnection project is to enable the exchange of electricity between the four countries and with the neighbouring countries to which they are interconnected.
This 330KV line is 875Km long and connects the Birnin Kebbi transformer station to Nigeriaat the post of Ouagadougou East, in Burkina Faso, passing through the posts of Zabori and Gorou-Banda in Niger, and a ramp linking the Zabori station to the Malanville station in Benin, the Nigerien Press Agency said, adding that a 33 km line will be built inside the city of Ouagadougou.
According to Commissioner Sédiko Douka, in charge of Mines and Energy at the ECOWAS Commission, “This project is one of the flagship and integrating programmes of ECOWAS because it will first facilitate electricity trade in the sub-region and strengthen the regional volume of electricity exchanges which is currently low (9%) despite the current interconnection of 09 countries out of 14. It will also increase the rate of access to electricity, particularly in rural areas, by electrifying nearly 600 localities (432 in Niger and 179 in Burkina Faso) located along the lines to be built. This is a catalyst that will help raise the regional access rate, which is currently 50%,” he continued.
It is one of the priority projects of the ECOWAS Master Plan for the Development of Regional Power Generation and Transmission Facilities 2019-2033. This blueprint had been adopted by the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government at their 54th summit held in Abuja on 22 December 2018.