Conference: The West African Power Industry Convention
Location: Abuja, Nigeria
Presenter: Kwaku Waife Jr
Abstract: Presented by Kwaku Waife Jr at The West African Power Industry Convention

The electricity sectors in most countries in West Africa has for a long time now been plagued with problems of poor quality of service, limited access and high operational costs.  Marshalling the required financing to improve the situation is currently beyond the capacities of most countries. In addition, traditional bilateral and multilateral sources of funding for energy infrastructure are limited and cannot meet the needs of all the countries.  As a result, most states are actively seeking private sector financing for energy infrastructure.

However, the peculiar situation of West African countries makes attracting private sector investment a daunting task.  The root cause of the problem is the legacy of weak governance at the national and sector level. This legacy relate to political and macroeconomic instability, weak sector policy, institutional and regulatory frameworks, as well as the continued dominance of poorly managed and financially stressed government owned utilities.  Even though most countries are working towards overcoming these challenges, progress has been uneven and the results are yet to manifest. 

Regional cooperation in energy infrastructure projects is a possible way of overcoming some of the challenges.  Through cooperation, countries that on their own cannot attract private investment in certain sectors may still be able to benefit from projects implemented on a regional scale.  This paper discusses the role regional cooperation in infrastructure development among West African countries can play in attracting financing from various sources to the electricity sector.