The final draft of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Strategy and Action Plan for from Eastern Africa Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region (EA-SA-IO) has been validated. The strategy was validated in Lusaka, Zambia, during a workshop of energy experts hosted by COMESA through Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (REARESA) on 21- 22 August 2019.
The strategy is expected to support the region address the production capacity of energy in the context of climate change challenges which are increasingly affecting generation of energy and the resultant cost of living. It is estimated that energy deficit causes about 2% loss of growth of gross domestic product (GDP) in most of our countries.
Participants to the validation workshop were drawn from ministries responsible for energy and regulators from the representative Regional Economic Communities as well as power utilities. Chief Executive Officer of the REARESA Dr Mohamedain Seif Elnasr officially opened the workshop.
Dr Elnasr said statistics for the region are an indication of the amount of work needed to be done to ensure that energy becomes a key enabler and game changer to doing business and increasing the productivity of industries.
“The challenges in our energy networks, as well as ever increasing deficiencies in energy supply are a common feature of our countries. These challenges contribute to the reduction of revenue of our industries through increase in production costs,” Dr Seif Elnasr said.
According to the world energy outlook 2014 factsheet, published by the international energy agency related to sub-Saharan Africa over the period to 2040, 950 million people are projected to gain access to electricity. Urban areas experience the largest improvement in the coverage and reliability of centralised electricity supply.
Elsewhere, mini-grid and off-grid systems provide electricity to 70% of those gaining access in rural areas. Cumulative investment of more than $200 billion lowers the total without access by 15%: a major step forward, but not far enough, as it still leaves 530 million people in the region, primarily in rural communities, without electricity in 2040”.
Acting Principal Energy Officer at the Ministry of Energy in Zambia, Mafayo Ziba thanked COMESA for coming up with an initiative that will see individual Member States tap into regional strategies for the development of renewable energy projects.
Mr Ziba who is a renewable energy expert implored all the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to take a regional approach to the development of energy production projects as Climate change is affecting not only parts of the region but all the countries.
“This is an important development as the project end results is an enhanced regional energy market with a harmonised, efficient and gender- sensitive regulatory framework; and capacitated regional regulators and power pools to more effectively oversee and stimulate increased regional power trade,” Mr Ziba said.
The programme on Enhancement of a Sustainable Regional Energy market in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region (ESREM- EA/SA/IO) is an EU funded project and the beneficiaries of the programme include all the RECS in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region including their energy regulatory associations and power pools.
The overall objective of the programme is to enhance a sustainable regional energy market in the EA-SA-IO region, which is conducive to investment and promoting sustainable development.
Further, the project aims at achieving an enhanced harmonized, efficient and gender-sensitive regulatory environment in the EA-SA-IO region; and capacitate regional regulatory associations and power pools to more effectively oversee and stimulate increased regional power trade. It is expected that this will stimulate an average increase of 10% in investment flows in energy generation and transmission projects in the region.