GEF Strategic Program for West Africa (SPWA)

In an effort to bolster regional activities in the energy sector, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, in 2008, approved the Strategic Programme for West Africa (SPWA). The program is coordinated by UNIDO in partnership with ECREEE. The main objective of the energy component of this programme is to increase energy access, promote energy efficiency and improve global environmental sustainability by focusing on four areas: end-use energy efficiency, sustainable agrofuel production and use, mini and micro hydro power, and mini-grids based on renewable energy for productive uses.

With an investment of $39.86 million, the SPWA-Energy Component presently supports a portfolio of twenty-two renewable energy and energy efficiency projects (one regional project and twenty-one national projects) within the region. Formulated by GEF agencies namely: UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO and the World Bank, these projects are implemented by national authorities in the fifteen ECOWAS countries, Burundi and Chad. Amongst the projects of the SPWA energy component, ten have an explicit focus on renewable energy. Five of these include biomass, three include solar, two include wind, and five include small hydro power.

Developed by UNIDO and ECREEE, the regional project on “Promoting Coordination, Coherence, Integration and Knowledge Management” aims to enhance the effectiveness of the twenty-one national projects by monitoring the progress of these projects; facilitating knowledge and experience sharing across the project teams; and conducting capacity development activities through regional workshops and seminars. Specific methods of intervention outlined in regional project include developing regional renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and overseeing the implementation of these policies at the national level; and setting up the ECOWAS Observatory for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECOWREX).

In October 2012, at the ECOWAS-GFSE-UNIDO High Level Energy Forum, in Accra, Ghana, the ECOWAS regional policies on renewable energy and energy efficiency were adopted by the energy ministers and the ECOWREX launched.  At the national level, the twenty-one projects are currently under implementation.

Additional information on projects under the GEF SPWA-Energy Component is available at