European Union supports WAPP Project (Saturday, May 15, 2010 pg )

The European Union (EU) has committed GH¢3.24 million to support capacity building programmes for the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) project.
The EU financial assistance is an intervention under the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP)-EU Energy Facility, which is aimed at increasing access to sustainable and affordable energy services for people living in ACP countries, including Ghana.
The support programme, which started in September 2009, will end in 2012.
The WAPP is a means by which member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have decided to come together to pool their electricity recourses to provide cheaper and quality electrical power to their citizens.
Opening a training programme in Tema for some 43 electrical engineers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Gambia, the Head of Infrastructure Development of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, Mr Jannik Vaa, said clean and efficient energy remained vital to reaching the goals of the West African sub-region.
The nine-week training programme is designed to meet the urgent needs of the English-speaking national electricity operators to help enhance the professional capability of their technical staff.
The programme would cover modules, including transformer and substation maintenance, overheard lines maintenance and underground cable techniques and distribution system engineering design, protection and operation.
He noted that the EU support to the WAPP project “seeks to assist ECOWAS countries to develop capacity for electricity production and supply at the regional level, and subsequently to strengthen regional integration in the region.”
He said in order to support regional integration programmes for the sub-region, the EU was to support such programmes with €597million from 2008 to 2013.
Mr Vaa said the assistance was targeted at deepening regional integration, improving competitiveness, consolidating good governance and regional stability.
The WAPP Secretary-general, Mr Amadou Diallo, said the programme would enhance regional cohesion and foster the spirit of mutual assistance among member utilities of the WAPP.
Mr Diallo added that the training programme would not only help to enhance the performance of the three beneficiary countries, but will also “contribute to the integration of the national electricity companies of ECOWAS member states.”
He urged the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) to continue improving its facilities and training expertise so that the WAPP could continue using regional facilities “instead of being forced to keep sending our people abroad to be trained.”
The Director of Customer Services of the ECG, Mr N. K. Smart-Yeboah, who represented the Managing Director of the company, reiterated the company’s commitment to ensuring the success of the WAPP’s objectives.
He said in furtherance of that the company was renovating its training school to meet international standards in order that it could be in the position to serve as a centre of excellence for human resource development for the ECOWAS sub-region in the area of electrical distribution.

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