He added that it would also encourage private energy service providers to offer public institutions like schools, hospitals and other healthcare facilities with long term supply contracts so they couldgenerate electricity from standalone solar PV system.
Minister Joof was speaking on Thursday, during the Industry Ministers Meeting of Regional Off-Grid Electricity Access Project (ROGEAP) Member States for the validation of regional standards, technical regulation for lead in Paint, ECOSHAM reviewed document and draft directive for the automotive industry policy framework.
The ECOWAS meeting, which gathered experts from across member countries, was held at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara Conference Center in Bijilo.
“The project will also promote Quality Assurance standards in the project countries to help them develop a quality assurance framework for off-grid solar electricity systems for institutional applications to ensure the long-term performance of these systems,” Minister Joof further stated.
Despite these regional efforts to adopt policies and strategies with the objective of facilitating and promoting intra-and-extra-regional trade and investment flows, he noted, member countries of ECOWAS were slow at adopting and implementing relevant policies and strategies.
He added that despite the major strides made towards deepening intra-ECOWAS trade, trade levels are still very low, describing the reasons as multifaceted but have their roots in the energy sector.
“They range from inadequate infrastructure, low levels of industrialisation and productive capacity, poor implementation record of protocols and existing agreements, high cost of doing business, lack of access to trade and market information, high levels of informal trade, particularly, informal cross-border trade,” he said.
For her part, Feyi Boroffice, World Bank resident representative in The Gambia, said the World Bank is honoured to support the regional harmonisation effort of standards across the ECOWAS member states through the regional electricity project ROGEAP.
According to her, the aim of the project is to increase electricity access of households, businesses and public institutions by developing a regional market for standalone solar systems.
“As we all know, half of our regions are not permitted electricity waves, therefore we need to come up with innovative solutions including off-grid solutions to ensure access to those who are not connected to electricity.”
Mrs. Massandje Toure-Liste, ECOWAS commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, thanked the Gambia for hosting the meeting, while expressing hope for the implementation of the project in the member countries.