GEF Meeting in West Africa Develops Programme for Access to Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

26 August 2008: The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Secretariat met with Ministers from West African countries, from 25-26 August 2008, in Cotonou, Benin, to develop a regional programme for climate change and biodiversity that provides the region with a more efficient use of resources from the GEF's Resource Allocation Framework (RAF).

The meeting's agenda included reviewing the programme framework document and its priority projects, with a view to obtaining formal endorsement by countries prior to its submission to the November 2008 GEF Council meeting. The programme's climate change component aims to scale up renewable energy for augmenting rural electrification and promote energy efficiency measures in industry/households/public sectors through specific and focused interventions. In her presentation to the meeting, Monique Barbut, GEF CEO, explained that priority projects will address: energy access for disadvantaged people and rural dwellers; development of mini-hydroelectric dams; development of micro-enterprises to provide energy services; promotion of new and renewable energies; better use of biomass and solar power; and encouraging suitable and appropriate biofuels.

The programme will also aim to catalyze private sector investments and partnerships to stimulate renewable energy and energy efficiency markets in West Africa, and promote productive and income generation activities. Subject to the confirmation by countries in the region, GEF funds in the range of US$30-35 million would be earmarked under the proposed energy programme for West Africa, with expected co-financing in the range of US$80-100 million. [GEF Press Release]