COMESA region is moving closer to a harmonized energy regulatory regime

Cairo, Monday, May 13, 2024: Energy experts are meeting in Cairo for a two-day consultative workshop on regional harmonization of regulatory frameworks and tools for improved electricity regulation in the COMESA region.

The meeting is reviewing a study report of the energy market, institutional structure, and tariff frameworks in 13 regional states, focusing on their current and future energy mix, technical and operational performance along with the tariff determination mechanisms.

Twelve COMESA Member States are covered in the study including Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Tunisia, and Uganda and additionally, South Sudan.

This activity is part of ongoing project funded by the African Development Bank to ultimately, enhance the sustainability of the electricity sector of the region through effective, uniform, transparent and enforceable regulatory frameworks that set out clear principles, rules, processes, and standards for the COMESA region.

Despite being endowed with significant energy resources, the COMESA countries face enormous challenges in increasing energy access to its ever-increasing population and building a robust physical energy infrastructure. Average electricity access rate in the COMESA region is slightly above 50 percent.

Many countries in the region continue to face an energy crisis and are plagued by challenges that include, absence of robust regulatory frameworks, under-performing utilities, lack of funding for new infrastructure, overreliance on coal and hydropower, lack of cost-reflective tariffs and heavy and unsustainable reliance on biomass energy (traditional fuels such as wood fuels, charcoal, animal waste etc.

The slow pace of power sector development hampers overall economic growth and leads to an unsustainable energy system.

Addressing the energy crisis calls for harmonized policy and regulatory frameworks to strengthen operational and financial efficiency of power utilities and create an enabling environment for attracting private sector investment. This will enable the cost-effective expansion of generation and transmission infrastructure that will facilitate regional energy trade and increase electricity access.

Speaking at the workshop, the Chief Executive Officer of the COMESA Regional Association of Energy Regulators in Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA) Dr Mohamedain Seif El Nasr said the experts’ inputs were critical before the final validation of the report, which will pave the way for its presentation to the Ministers responsible for energy for adoption and eventual implementation.

COMESA – RAERESA is the Implementing Agency of the Project assisted by the Energy Regulators Association of East Africa (EREA) of the East African Community (EAC).

Once fully implemented, this project is expected to promote regional cooperation in energy development, reduce the cost of doing business, increase cross-border energy trade and enhance COMESA’s competitiveness in regional and extra-regional markets.