Benin, Togo and Nigeria inaugurated on Tuesday a power cable linking the three countries' national grids and aimed at improving insufficient electricity infrastructure in West Africa.
The 70-kilometre power cable will join the Electrical Community of Benin (CEB), which groups Benin and neighbouring Togo, with regional economic powerhouse Nigeria.It will have an initial capacity of 80 megawatts, which is due to be extended in the coming months.
A shortfall in electricity capacity and distribution infrastructure is one of the main limitations on sub-Saharan Africa's economic development.
"This is an example of regional development where states unite to tackle the problems of underdevelopment, especially in the context of globalisation," Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo told the inauguration ceremony, also attended by the leaders of Ghana, Benin and Togo.
Around 80 percent of the electricity consumed in Benin is imported, with the majority of this coming from Ghana's Akosombo hydroelectric dam.
Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation with more than 140 million people, suffers from a shortfall in its own electricity capacity as successive governments have ignored much-needed investment in the power sector.
Its electricity generation fell by half in January due to gas shortages at key thermal plants after a spate of vandalism and technical faults.