General News of Friday, 1 February 2013
VENTURES AFRICA – Ghana has reached 72 percent electricity access across the country attributable to the commitment and collaboration between governments and developmental players, experts say.
According to Andrew Barfour, project coordinator at the Ghana Energy Development and Access Project (GEDAP), the country’s National Electrification Scheme (NES) has been such a success to date thanks to the commitment of parties – whether government, donors, or rural community members – to making wide-spread electrification a reality, and the willingness of parties to collaborate.
“…the commitment of various governments towards the success of the programme and the contribution of SHEP [self-help electrification programme] has helped in the phenomenal success. Also the contribution and collaboration of our development partners has contributed immensely to the success of GEDAP,” Barfour explains.
Pursuant to the project’s success, Barfour is set to be a key-note speaker at the African Utility Week in May, to share advice and experiences with attendees, and to voice his belief in the importance of the electrification in Africa.
“…in this modern world electrification cannot be overemphasized and therefore all countries must endeavour to ensure that electricity is extended to all corners of the continent if we want the economic circumstances of our people to improve for the better,” Barfour says, revealing that this will be the main crux of his message to conference participants.
Ghana launched its NES in 1989, the government realising the importance of developing an energy supply system for the country, due to the fact that only 25 percent of the population had access to electricity at the time. As such, the government made electrification a national priority, and has pushed for the spread of energy distribution across Ghana in the name of economic development.
The GEDAP is a $132 million project under the auspices of the national priority, funded by a number of donors, including the World Bank, the International Development Agency (IDA), the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Partnership on Output-based Aid (GPOBA), the Africa Catalytic Growth Fund (ACGF) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SECO).
Barfour describes the GEDAP’s aims, saying: “the development objective is to improve the operational efficiency of the power distribution system and increase the population’s access to electricity and help transition Ghana to a low-carbon economy through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”