The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has moved to validate its regional strategy for the popularization of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) in West Africa with the aim of improving its economy and addressing health challenges and environmental degradation associated with the lack of access to LPG particularly in rural areas of the region.
In a two-day workshop comprising of sectorial experts from Member States which was held in Abuja, Nigeria, the Commissions’ Commissioner for Energy and Mines Mr. Sédiko Douka stated that it has become necessary for ECOWAS to address this gap in the energy sector by developing a regional strategy to this effect.
‘Despite the immense energy resource potential of our region, the overall energy balance remains predominated by biomass which accounts for 80% of the total energy consumption in the region”, he said.
‘Many of our people, both in rural and urban areas, have no access to electricity and use charcoal and firewood for their cooking and heating needs’, he added.
The Commissioner stated that the consequence of these practices are of course, disastrous for the environment, particularly the acceleration of deforestation and air pollution and also have an adverse effect on the health of Community citizens through the daily inhalation of toxic smoke.
He further noted that even though ECOWAS has put in place policies such as the ECOWAS Renewable Energy policy and the ECOWAS Bioenergy Policy, the rate of access to LPG in West Africa remains below 10% with 90% of its use concentrated in urban cities in the region.
The representative of Nigeria’s Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Brenda Onose Ataga in her remarks at the opening of the workshop highlighted the importance of Member States making a shift to cleaner and more efficient sources of energy.
She stated that, ‘the popularization of LPG would diversify and improve the economy of the region, improve health and enable Member states comply with the Paris agreement which seeks to reduce global warming’.
The workshop will see participants analyze and approve data on the LPG market in ECOWAS Member States and review the constraints and barriers of its accessibility and affordability within the region.