ECREEE in partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), based in Abu Dhabi, conducted a two-day RRA exercise in the Gambia, with the objective to evaluate the country’s readiness to the deployment of renewable energy technologies.The RRA is an IRENA initiative which, through multi-stakeholder engagement, assesses the market, legal and regulatory conditions for renewable energy development in a country; based on the outcome of the study, barriers are identified and a roadmap, tailored according to the needs of the country, is developed. The first study within the ECOWAS region was conducted in Senegal in November 2011, following the successful implementation of this exercise, ECREEE and IRENA selected three additional countries from within the region for a second-phase of implementation, these countries include: Ghana, Niger and the Gambia.For the study in The Gambia, delegates from the two institutions held, on 17 December 2012, bilateral meetings with representatives from the Ministry of Energy; the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA); the European Union Delegation to the Gambia; Gambia Investment and Export Promotion Agency and the Renewable Energy Association of The Gambia; through these meetings, barriers such as capacity gaps in the renewable energy sector and financial constraints were identified. However, there was a general agreement that the newly drafted Renewable Energy Law, if ratified, will obviate some of the challenges and create conducive business environment for local and foreign investors to invest in the sector.On day-two, 18 December 2012, a workshop was conducted, and through focus group discussions, renewable energy technologies and resources for energy services were prioritized for development in The Gambia. Results from the prioritization process showed solar for centralized electricity to be a top priority for the country, followed by solar thermal for heating, solar for decentralized electricity, wind for centralized electricity, and lastly, solid biomass for cooking and heating.At the end of the workshop, there was consensus among the stakeholders that concert actions must be directed towards hastening the process of adopting the drafted Renewable Energy Policy; establishing standards and labels for renewable energy equipment, rehabilitating the Gambia Renewable Energy Centre (GREC); validating data on solar, biomass and wind resource assessments; creating a renewable energy fund; and building capacities of stakeholders (policy makers, regulators and the private sectors).It is envisaged that the RRA process will be replicated in the rest of the eleven ECOWAS Member States in 2013.

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