43rd OMVG council of ministers held in Gambia

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Gambia government, through the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, hosted the 43rd ordinary session of the OMVG council of ministers meeting.

Officials said this year’s meeting, on the theme: ‘Time for action’, was crucial as it took decisions and came up with resolutions that are critical to the implementation of the OMVG energy project. 

The project is to address the current and future energy needs of the OMVG member states of Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia.

Speaking at the meeting held at a hotel in Brufut, Lamin B. Dibba, Minister of Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, said the theme for this year’s meeting captures the sentiments of the Gambian people, who have heard about the OMVG for a long time without being able to associate any achievement with it.

The theme of the meeting is attributable to the expeditious implementation of the OMVG energy project, which would stimulate the interest of the OMVG member states.

“It is universally accepted that lack of clean and affordable energy supply is one of the banes of our underdevelopment,” he added.

The minister of the Environment said his ministry would support all the efforts of OMVG, and ensure that The Gambia meets all her obligations and commitments to the OMVG as and when required.

“We are working on identifying an office space for the OMVG national coordinating unit and finalisation of the recruitment of the staff of the unit,” he announced.

On behalf of the vice president, Claudiana Taylor Cole minster of Basic and Secondary Education, in a statement said The Gambia eagerly looks forward to the OMVG energy project to deliver “unprecedented socio-economic development”.

The energy project would supply clean energy at a competitive rate, with a view to reducing the energy deficits in the four OMVG member states.

The project is expected to provide OMVG member states with a total installed capacity of 368 MW, as well as 1,348 gigawatts per hour of cheaper renewable energy per year.

The minister said the project would also contribute to the establishment of a building block for the regional power industry, as well as the establishment of a regional power market through the gradual integration of isolated national grids into the West African power pool unified regional interconnection system.

The Gambia is expecting to initially benefit about a total quantity of 80 megawatts of electricity from the Sambangalou Dam facility along the borders of Senegal and Guinea, and the two dam facilities in The Gambia.

According to the National Water Electricity Company Limited, this would help address most of The Gambia’s current electricity needs, Mrs Taylor Cole  continued.

She pointed out that The Gambia has settled all her arrears to the OMVG annual operating budget and counterpart funding to the energy project for the year ended December 2016.

The minister urged all the other member states to honour their commitment to the OMVG, with a view to support the implementation of OMVG programmes, in general, and the energy project, in particular.

Other speakers included the Minister of Natural Resources of Guinea-Bissau and current chairman of the OMVG council of ministers, Baros Bacar Banjai.

Author: Adam Jobe