WASCAL and delegates from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) have participated in this years’ ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum (ESEF), which took place in Abuja, Nigeria, under the patronage of His Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari.

The two-day Forum was rich in experience and knowledge sharing, networking and served as platform for partnership building.

Speaking on the theme, ‘’green hydrogen as a driver of energy transition and game changing potential for economic growth in West Africa’’, Dr. Moumini Savadogo, Executive Director of WASCAL, recalled the vision of WASCAL in the fight against Climate Change and the promotion of Green Hydrogen in West Africa. He called for a strong partnership at national and international levels, including international organizations, private sector stakeholders active in the field of Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen to allow a better appropriation of green hydrogen technologies and create better investment opportunities.

‘’We know how much potential we have regarding green hydrogen; it is important to question how we can make the most of that potential. At WASCAL, the strategy is for us to support our member countries through research, provision of climate services and capacity building. Our partnership with other countries, especially with the Federal Republic of Germany, has enabled us to be at the forefront of the promotion of green hydrogen in West Africa’’, he said

For Dr Christoph Röevemkamp, Head of the Division, Energy and Hydrogen Technologies at the BMBF, the West African region is a first mover of the continent, the front runners of the continent regarding green hydrogen. He commended the good collaboration between WASCAL and ECOWAS Centre For Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) which permitted to bring all the ECOWAS countries onboard for the cause of green hydrogen. He also highlighted the competition spirit, the race regarding not only the technology for green hydrogen but also the benefits it can provide at the country level.

‘’Some of the countries in the West Africa region are among the fastest growing company in the world and poses a huge challenge in energy demand. This energy demand should not be filled by fossil fuel but green hydrogen. That will create new job opportunities, especially for the youth and reduce unemployment. Going for green hydrogen is a real perspective that will change the lives of the youth but also for the societies and the region in general’’.  He spoke.

This special panel on green hydrogen, has allowed to bring more information first on a purely scientific aspect, but also to shed light on what the concept of green hydrogen is. It also provided insights on the technologies that exist but also the opportunities available which should allow the West African region, in the framework of the development of the regional policy on green hydrogen, to be ready for an effective strategy of implementation in the region.

The panel was preceded by three main presentations namely; the concept and production technology of Green Hydrogen, the WASCAL initiatives on green hydrogen development in West Africa and finally, the green hydrogen potential in West Africa.

Elaborating on green hydrogen potentials in West Africa, Prof Kehinde Ogunjobi, Director of Research at WASCAL said that the global context of Climate Change and efforts towards sustainable development commands the need for energy transition.

‘’West Africa presents great potentials of renewables and green hydrogen technology for sustainable development. Green hydrogen offers a unique opportunity to decarbonize many sectors and economic growth in West Africa’’, he added.

For Prof Kehinde Ogunjobi, the challenges are ranging from capacities and technologies, adapted policies and regulatory frameworks, appropriate investment and business models, interest of investors and specialized companies.

In respect to WASCAL initiatives on green hydrogen development in West Africa, Dr. Bruno Korgo, Regional Coordinator on Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen at WASCAL, pointed out the H2 ATLAS AFRICA project which objective isto assess the potential of production of green hydrogen from renewable energy sources within ECOWAS region, the International Master programme on energy and green hydrogen, the development of ECOWAS regional green hydrogen policy and the implementation ofpilot projects.

The ECOWAS Sustainable Energy Forum 2022 is aimed at catalysing business partnerships, exchange information and raise awareness about the progress made by ECOWAS member countries in the region on Sustainable Development Goal 7. This edition was under the theme Achieving Sustainable Energy Targets in the ECOWAS Region. Moving from Resilience to Transition.  

In attendance were ministers and heads of development organizations, financial institutions, and the private sectors.

Established in 2015 to support investment in sustainable energy anchored by strong policy initiatives of ECOWAS member states, ESEF is the premier energy event in West Africa. The 8th edition of ESEF is scheduled for Praia, Cabo Verde in 2023.