Over 700 million euros has so far been committed by the European Union (EU) for the development of sustainable energy in Nigeria and other ECOWAS countries from 2014 to 2020.
Mr Kurt Cornelis, Head of Cooperation, EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, revealed this in Abuja on Monday at a workshop on policy and regulation for clean energy mini-grids and renewable energy in ECOWAS region.
He said access to electricity and promotion of sustainable energy solutions were at the core of EU’s cooperation with the region, hence the provision of the grants to ECOWAS countries.
He said given the challenge in the electricity production, there was the urgent need to address the energy deficit, using the various energy mix in the region.
“We all know that the challenges are considerable; we also know that on-grid solutions alone cannot solve the problems and that the right mix of on grid and off-grid interventions has to be found.
Cornelis also said that there was the need to ensure a strong political will through the formulation and implementation of a solid regulatory and policy framework for the sector.
He said that a stable environment for trade and investment, improved capacities and necessary funding were required for the development of the sector.
He added that the EU, with partner countries and donor agencies, were committed to promoting renewable energy solutions to expand access to electricity in the region.
“The EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility is a good example of a multi-donor initiative established with the aim to promote coherent, effective and efficient European energy development cooperation.“
According to him, another 360 million euros was currently on the verge of being disbursed through a financial instrument called Africa Investment Facility (AFIF) to further improve energy and transportation in the ECOWAS.
He said there was the need for new partnerships to mobilise private resources and apply innovative financing models, noting that EU was also proposing an ambitions external investment plan.
This, he said, would require the full participation and partnership of the private sector.
“The EU is planning to mobilise considerable funding to support this trend and allow the private sector to invest in the area of renewable energies,“ he said.