Renewable Energy Strategy Validated

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.

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