By Guo Jun and Saliu Olatunji ABUJA, (Xinhua)
-- Heads of state and government in
West Africa discussed on Saturday a China-proposed initiative on
energy interconnection, exploring a solution to persistent power
shortage and achieving sustainable industrial and economic
The Global Energy
Interconnection (GEI), proposed by China in 2015, was presented
at a high-level session held on the sideline of the 54th
ordinary session of the Economic Community Of West African
States (ECOWAS) Authority of Heads of State and Government in
Nigeria’s capital city of Abuja.
The GEI initiative
centers on strengthening power grid development, accelerating
transnational and trans-regional interconnection, and
encouraging clean energy development.
Speaking at the
meeting, Liu Zhenya, chairman of Global Energy Interconnection
Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), said that
energy interconnection planning for Africa was a vital part of
GEI, and the large-scale development of mineral resources and
rapid industrialization in West Africa has created a huge room
for growth in electricity demand.
“Yet, local supply
alone cannot meet the demand and there is an urgent need for
electricity import from other regions,” he told the gathering.
According to the
GEIDCO chairman, the initiative is to coordinate the planning
and development of clean energy bases such as hydropower, mining
and metallurgy bases, and industrial parks.
model of electricity, mining, metallurgy, industry and trade,
would help forge an integrated power market for power
development, transmission and consumption, so as to address the
power shortages for industrial development and the lack of
market for power development,” Liu said.
The general idea is
to change the fragmented and separated development pattern of
different countries and industries in Africa in the past and
form an industrial chain for win-win cooperation between the
upstream and downstream, the GEIDCO chairman said.
This could be
achieved by promoting the joint development of electricity,
mining, metallurgy, industry, and trade with the ultra-high
vacuum (UHV) technology, Liu said.
development pattern, Liu said, by 2050 the average power supply
cost in West Africa will be lowered and some 30 million new jobs
in various industries will be created, according to the data of
In an interview with
Xinhua after the high level meeting, Guinean President Conde
said nearly half of Africans do not have access to energy, and
heads of state attending the high level meeting are interested
in the GEI initiative.
“You have seen today
that all heads of state are interested because energy is of
fundamental importance to us. So it has been so well received
both here and at the African Union. Here we build dams but we
also need interconnection,” Conde said.
He said it is
obvious that interconnection will enable Africa to
“We have iron ore,
bauxite, but we can not consume. Africa is going to be a big
market. Interconnection will not only expand the market and
trade between African countries but will allow us to transform
our agriculture and process raw materials on site,” the
president said. Sediko Douka, ECOWAS
commissioner for energy and mining, told Xinhua after the
meeting that ECOWAS countries have a big energy challenge in
terms of power access.
“we have the problem
of being unable to develop renewable energy despite that we have
The energy forum
related to the interconnection of West Africa, and West Africa
to other parts of Africa is very interesting for ECOWAS
countries because “we have a problem of how to cover the energy
demand”, Douka said. “So any solution and any
initiative which can help us to develop our interconnection of
transmission lines or to increase the generation of energy is
very welcome in the region,” he said.
GEIDCO is an
international organization committing to promoting power grid
interconnection and meeting the global power demand in a clean
and green way. Currently, GEIDCO has over 600 members from more
than 80 countries and regions across 5 continents.