ECOWAS Capacity Building Workshop on Bioenergy Service Delivery Successfully Concludes at Centre Songhai, Porto Novo, Benin

ECREEE – Praia Cape Verde, 28th September 2018 – The Regional workshop on Capacity Building on Bioenergy Service Delivery supported by the Austrian Development Cooperation (ADA), successfully concluded at Porto Novo, Benin on Friday 28 September 2018. The five-day capacity building workshop opened on Monday 24th September 2018.

The workshop was conducted with the objective of enhancing capacities of private sector operators (private sector actors/NGOs/individuals) in sustainable Bioenergy Service delivery for the ECOWAS member states. The event was organized as part of the implementation of the ECOWAS Bioenergy Policy that was adopted by the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Monrovia, Liberia in July 2017, thus paving the way for concerted efforts to enhance capacities of operators and stakeholder for its successful implementation to achieve the regional targets set therein. The ECOWAS Bioenergy Policy aims to promote the sustainable production, transformation and utilization of biomass resources (including bio-waste) for cooking, heating, power generation and transportation.

During the Opening Session, participants were welcomed by Mr. Justin Lekoto – Head Training and Renewable Energy Department at the Centre Songhai on behalf of the Director General of the Centre – Fr. Godfrey NZAMUJO. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Mr. Bah F. M. Saho – Principal Program Officer for Renewable Energy at ECREEE on behalf of the Executive Director of ECREEE – Mr. Mahama Kappiah. In his speech, Mr. Bah F. M. Saho recalled the efforts ECREEE has made in developing policies and programs that enhance the operations of the private sector. He informed the participants that it is now time to focus on delivering sustainable energy services, including Bioenergy services to our ECOWAS citizens that is in line with the Strategic Plan of ECREEE 2017 – 2022.  Hence the hosting of this capacity building workshop in Centre Songhai, which is a Centre of Excellence, to facilitate the implementation of the ECOWAS Bioenergy Policy. The workshop was officially opened by Mr. Assane Todeman at the Department of Energy representing the Director General of Energy of Benin – Mr. Amine Kaffo. In his intervention, he cited the efforts of the Government of Benin in the promotion of renewable energy. He thanked ECREEE for the initiative in conducting this important workshop in Centre Songhai as a means to enhance the capacities of the private sector operators to be able to deliver sustainable energy services, including bioenergy, to the population.

In the technical sessions, which was composed of theoretical and practical visits to the respective technologies, participants were introduced to the following sustainable energy services: biogas, pyrolysis/gasification, densification for pellets and briquettes, sustainable charcoal production, sustainable forest and wood energy management, improved cookstoves and biofuels of bioethanol and biodiesel. In each of these technologies, participants were given information on how a cycle or value chain of each of them goes from using of the waste materials that used to enhance the environment, how the waste/residues are transformed into energy to reduce the dependence of the populations on fuelwood (firewood and charcoal) and fossil fuels and therefore enhance the health of the users, to the creation of employment opportunities and increase in income levels. In addition, the by-product of these transformed waste-to-energy materials are also used in the agricultural fields for increasing productivity while reducing the use of chemical fertilizers.

The workshop was concluded with a field visit outside the complex of the Centre, to one of the local companies producing bio-charcoal from agricultural wastes.

The workshop was attended by 20 participants (12 from the other ECOWAS countries and 8 national participants.