CEO Today - Africa Awards 2023

38 | Republic of Benin Our relationship with ministers is especially strong now; when we ask them to meet with us, they will come. Moreover, there has been a remarkable expansion of infrastructure projects, with strong emphasis on interconnecting the power systems of member countries. Though the scale and complexity of these projects have grown, there has been greater coordination and cooperation among stakeholders. To date, the electrical interconnection of the 14 continental ECOWAS countries is almost complete. The interconnection of the Cape Verde network, the only one currently isolated from the rest due to its geographical position, is planned for the future. Projects totaling 5,345km of power lines are currently ongoing, and over 11,000 km are under preparation. Cross-border power exchanges have risen from 4.5GWh in 2015 to 6.5GWh in 2021. What challenges have you and WAPP overcome during this time? During our journey, we have encountered various challenges that have tested our resilience and determination. One of the primary hurdles we faced was the need to address the diverse regulatory frameworks and technical standards that existed across member countries. Harmonising these aspects to enable seamless cross-border electricity trade demanded intensive efforts and close collaboration with regulatory bodies. It was essential to establish a common ground that would facilitate efficient and reliable power exchange while respecting the unique circumstances of each nation. An example of the harmonisation efforts within the West African Power Pool (WAPP) can be observed through the implementation of various key documents. Firstly, the WAPP operation manual was developed to ensure a standardised and harmonised approach to operating the power system across member countries. This manual provides guidelines and procedures that promote efficiency and consistency in power system operations. Additionally, market rules were established to govern market operations within the region, ensuring fair and transparent transactions and facilitating the efficient allocation of energy resources. Furthermore, the Grid Code serves as an updated and comprehensive document that integrates and aligns the operation manual and market rules, providing a unified framework for power system operation and market activities. Together, these documents exemplify the ongoing harmonisation efforts within WAPP, promoting the seamless functioning of the regional power sector and facilitating regional energy trade and integration. Infrastructure development was also a significant challenge, due to funding constraints and the complex nature of coordinating multiple donors. Securing financing for pre-investment studies and implementation proved to be a crucial obstacle that required innovative approaches. We engaged in persistent and fruitful discussions with development partners, exploring various financing mechanisms to overcome this challenge. Through effective project management and meticulous coordination, we have been able to overcome these obstacles and make substantial progress in the development of critical infrastructure. A classic example of some innovative approaches adopted by WAPP, is the programme management units (PMUs) of the CLSG (Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea) and North Core projects. These PMUs have embraced forward-thinking strategies to effectively manage and implement large-scale infrastructure projects in the power sector. Through their innovative approaches, they have successfully coordinated and supervised the construction of transmission lines and substations ensuring seamless integration and reliable electricity transmission across participating countries. The PMUs have also adopted advanced project management techniques, leveraging technology and datadriven decision-making to optimise project timelines, resource allocation and cost management. These innovative approaches have not only accelerated the progress of infrastructure development but have also set a benchmark for other initiatives within the West African power sector, showcasing the potential for transformative change through innovation and efficient project management. How is WAPP working towards the interconnection of the West African region? The WAPP is committed to regional development and integration by prioritising the interconnection of power systems across the West African region. We firmly believe that this interconnected network serves as a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity. To turn this vision into reality, we actively engage in meticulous planning and efficient implementation of interconnection projects, which not only enhance electricity trade but also bolster

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