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Africa : Integration of West African electricity networks as WAPP core mission

The West African Power Pool is a specialized institution of ECOWAS. It covers 14 of the 15 countries in the regional economic community. WAPP’s mission is to ensure the integration of the regional electricity system and the creation of a regional electricity market. Apollinaire Siengui KI, Secretary General of the WAPP, oversees the development of the energy market in West Africa, to ensure a reliable and competitive supply of electricity.

Siengui Apollinaire KI has been secretary general of WAPP, the West African Power Pool, since July 2015. An electrical engineer, he worked from 1985 to 2014 at the Société nationale d’électricité du Burkina Faso (SONABEL) and held the position of general manager. Before becoming secretary general of WAPP, he was also WAPP’s resident expert for the implementation of the ECOWAS emergency power supply programme for the Republic of the Gambia from 2014 to 2015. Siengui Apollinaire’s main mission as Secretary General of WAPP is to invest in finding ways and means of speeding up the implementation of high-capacity generation projects. Since taking up his post in 2015, Siengui Apollinaire has been working to promote and develop electricity generation and transmission infrastructure, as well as coordinating electricity exchanges between member states.

There are several roles for interconnections. But the first, and for which our institution was created, is to be able to share the resources that exist in West Africa. The countries are going to get together, create a power pool, create an electrical interconnection network so that where there are energy resources, we can develop them and we will have sufficient means to develop them because we will be a little more reliable. We will then transport them to the lines in areas where there are no resources. So we create these links, we create a power pool, we connect all the countries, and that means we can use the region’s energy resources wherever we are.

Appolinaire SIENGUI KI, Secretary General of the WAPP – Burkina Faso

The 59-year-old Burkinabè pilots flagship projects for the supply of electricity in the sub-region. He has ensured the establishment of a regional electricity market, almost 20 years after the plan was conceived, a project that was launched on 29 June 2018 in Cotonou under his supervision. In June 2023, the WAPP Secretary General ensured that the final stage in the process of unifying West Africa’s electricity networks and synchronizing them with zone 1, which includes the interconnected networks of Nigeria and Benin, would be effectively completed by the end of 2024.

The next year of infrastructure development that I’m going to talk to you about is to build more lines, which means choking the network to facilitate exchanges. Not only have we finished the interconnection, but that’s not enough. We need to make sure that the lines double the possible transit, which in our jargon is called safety minus one. All this justifies the projects we are currently undertaking.

Appolinaire SIENGUI KI, Secretary General of the WAPP – Burkina Faso

Appolinaire SIENGUI KI’s mission is to build interconnections in the sub-region and enable producers and distributors to sell or buy electricity at any point on the transmission network.

Generally speaking, there’s a problem of collection, the energy that’s sold to customers, we can’t manage to collect the money. First of all, there are technical losses. The network is such that when you put in 100 KWh, what the customer gets is 60 KWh, and that’s not normal. We need to help them fight and minimize these technical losses.

Appolinaire SIENGUI KI, Secretary General of the WAPP – Burkina Faso

The WAPP is continuing to integrate national electricity grids into a unified regional electricity market with a view to ensuring, in the medium and long term, a regular, reliable and competitively priced supply of electricity to the populations of ECOWAS Member States. This is a cause to which the leaders of the sub-regional organizations, including Apollinaire SIENGUI KI, are dedicated.


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