The Minister of State for Power, Dr. Goddy Jedy Agba, has called for effective collaboration between Nigeria and Senegal as well as other Western African countries on power generation.
Agba made the call in Abuja during a meeting with a delegation from Senegal that was led by the country’s Minister of Energy, Ms. Sophie Gladima.
He said that as the world prepares for COP26, it was important for West African countries particularly and Africa to discuss and come up with strong positions that would represent the interests of the region and continent.
He averred that electricity deficit is a common problem in Africa, therefore, they need to work closely together to find sustainable solutions to the challenge.
Agba, who identified funding as the major challenge affecting the power sector in Africa called on the United Nations and the World Bank to support the continent to develop its renewable energy sources.
He said: “I want to welcome you to Nigeria. We’re excited to meet with you and your team to discuss and share ideas on how to tackle power challenges in our countries as well as Africa.
“Before the COP26, we need to meet, West Africa countries need to meet and take a strong position. I know that at the sub-regional level, we are working hard to develop a reliable power grid for the region but we need to collaborate more because we have a lot to learn from each other.
“Nigeria is investing heavily in renewable energy. The President has mandated us to deploy solar energy solutions to five million homes before the end of the year. And to also ensure our people pay for what they consume, we’re currently providing six million homes with free meters.”
But Gladima said that the purpose of her meeting was to see how the bilateral relationship between the two countries, especially in the energy and power sectors, would be strengthened.
She said that the electricity situation in her country is improving as they depend on wind, hydro and renewable energy sources to meet up the electricity needs of the 70 million Senegalese.
She added that “thirty percent of our electricity, which represents 1,700 megawatts, is generated from renewable energy. We also generate 350 Megawatts from other sources. We’ve seven soil power plants and one Wind plant. We generate more from hydro because our water level is always stable and enough to help us.
“We are working to have more plants because, within the western power holding, there’s room for power-sharing. We want sufficient energy and are setting up a Gas-Fossil Power plant. We’ll set up pipelines that will transport gas to the generation plants.
“So, it’s important that the ties within ECOWAS countries, especially Nigeria are strengthened. We need to make the West Africa Power Pool work more efficiently.”
She challenged Nigeria to lead Africa out of its present power problem and added that there was need for African countries to begin to produce transmission lines locally to reduce overreliance on products from outside the continent.
The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Power, Mr. Williams Alo, said “we need to come together, unite and build closer ties. Colonisation has caused us a lot of problems but it’s time for West Africa and Africa to rise above colonial sentiments to find solutions to our problems.”
Also speaking, the Managing Director of Transmission Company Of Nigeria, (TCN), Mr. Sule Ahmed Abdulaziz, said that Nigeria was already working to bridge the electricity gap in the sub-region.
Abdulaziz, who was represented by the General Manager in TCN Mr. Ciroma Joseph, added that “we’re currently constructing 850 m.w. with 400 transmission lines linking Nigeria, Niger, Burkina-Faso and Benin. We’re working to not only meet the electricity needs of Nigeria but other neighboring African countries”.