1. Regional Sector Context. Despite sub-Saharan Africa’s large energy endowment, more than 620 million people (two-thirds of the population) in that region are without access to electricity. For those that do have electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa, average residential electricity consumption per capita in 2014 is equivalent to around half the average level of China or one-fifth of Europe1.
2. Faced with the task of expanding the power system to meet development needs, the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have acknowledged that past efforts to achieve national self-sufficiency in electricity supply have been uneconomic due to the high cost of establishing power generation and transmission infrastructure.
3. To address these challenges, ECOWAS put in place in 1999 the West African Power Pool (WAPP), a cooperative power pooling mechanism for integrating national power systems into a unified regional electricity market, with the expectation that this mechanism would assure their citizens of a stable and reliable electricity supply at affordable cost, over the medium- to long-term. The WAPP, a ‘flagship infrastructure project’ of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) is foreseen to foster the development of electricity in all ECOWAS member states. The Implementation Road Map of the WAPP Infrastructure Program consists of five sub-programs that will converge into a unified, well-functioning regional power pool when completed (see Table 1 and Figure 1 below).