The ECOWAS or the Economic Community of West African States is a regional grouping of 15 West-African states that have come together to create a Trade Union and promote self-sufficiency. Economic integration in Western Africa and further with the rest of African continent is the stated aim of this grouping.

Western Africa is one of the poorest regions of the world overlooking the Sahara region marked by high levels of impoverishment. But it has continued to advance significantly in comparison to the past decades. The rising wages have driven an increase in energy demands, particularly, in the domestic consumption needs. Refrigerators dominate the household consumption of power and the use of air conditioners is also on the rise. By 2030, it is predicted that Senegal will have 9 out of 10 families using Refrigerators.

To curb this rise in demand for power, ECOWAS has embarked on a programme to increase the efficiency of the refrigerators and Air Conditioners to conserve power and also help in the fight against global warming. The old generation refrigerators use chlorine-based coolants that are devastatingly harmful to the Ozone layer. Also, older cooling devices consume much more power than modern energy-efficient products.

With the coordination of the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program that is the successor of the Montreal Protocol which envisaged the phasing out of the Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs); ECOWAS has introduced the ECOFRIDGES, a novel initiative to replace the older generation cooling devices with efficient and climate- friendly products.

With an aim of 25 million dollars of financial support, ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency hopes to add over 50 thousand new cooling devices in Ghana and Senegal. ECOFRIDGES also includes programmes to spread awareness among the public and scientific approaches to enhance the efficiency of the products.
The range of benefits that are expected to be derived from the ECOFRIDGES programme include 4288 GWh of power savings that translates into 0.5 billion dollars saved in bills, in addition to the reduction of 1933 kilotons of carbon dioxide emissions.

To implement the programme, the governments are set to offer the replacement of the existing cooling devices that are over a decade old at subsided rates. The finance mechanisms will be explored based on local needs and facilitated for quick adoption by the families. The products catalogued under the scheme will be tested for energy performance and approved by a body.

This energy efficiency programme can become a trendsetter, if successful, in the fight against global warming and rising power demands in developing countries. The toolkit that will be developed by multiple partners with ECOWAS in this campaign will be based on the practical results from ECOFRIDGES implementation in Ghana.
This will be instrumental in further implementation around the world in developing countries through the U4E or United for Efficiency programme of the United Nations Efficiency Program that supports the developing economies to move towards energy efficiency.

The demand for power is rapidly growing and the developing countries are under pressure to enhance electricity generation. But cleaner sources of power are dearer and hydrocarbon-based sources are dirty.

Even with the use of coal and gas, the power demands by 2030 will be sharply challenging to meet for many developing countries. ECOFRIDGES can meet the difference between demand and capacity through optimization of efficiency. This will also contribute to the global aim of cutting carbon emissions.

The challenge of ecology sensible cheaper alternatives to development can be met by mass implementation of the energy efficiency programmes across the developing countries. African continent, many Latin American countries and other developing nations are set to implement the Kigali mandates which haveset guidelines to timely phase out the harmful HFCs entirely. Learning curves derived from the poorer regions will be crucial to extension of the efficiency programme to other regions.

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