West African countries sign $318m deal to end power woes
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Four west African countries have pledged $318 million into a power project that would end perennial electricity problems facing them.
Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Liberia which all belong the Mano River Union will benefit from the energy plan.
The budget was approved on Friday in Conakry at the end of a meeting of energy, technical and financial experts from the four countries and the international community.
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The group meticulously examined an appraisal of a strategic plan and estimates from a feasibility study that was commissioned earlier by member countries
Other stakeholders to the project include the Economic Community of West African States, the European Union and the ACP.
Included in the strategic plan and feasibility study are indicators of areas in the countries with high, medium and low energy problems as well as existing potential for hydro electricity.
A statement issued at the sidelines of the meeting by regional bloc Ecowas explained that its protocol on energy encourages the creation of a sub regional energy market that seeks to eliminate power deficit in its 14 member states.
Electricity problems are endemic in many African countries including oil-exporting nations like Nigeria where estimates say power failure can cause over $5 million in losses to the national economy in just a few hours.
The lack of combustibles for the power plants, the absence of maintenance of electricity plants and power theft are among the major causes of power failure in most African countries.
By TAMBA JEAN-MATTHEW