NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
FOUR energy committees met last week to discuss the implementation of a new regional power project expected to improve energy security in the Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean communities.
The project is also expected to improve accessibility and affordability.
The committees involved representatives from the five African regional economic communities (RECs), energy regulators, power pools and two regional centres for renewable energy from Eastern and Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO).
This is contained in a statement issued by Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) on Friday.
The meeting, which was held from August 16 -17, was the first of the steering committee of the project on Enhancement of a Sustainable Regional Energy Market (ESREM) in Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean launched in June this year.
The deliberations were necessitated by various studies that have revealed that the main challenges regarding energy needs of the region are inadequate level and coverage of physical energy infrastructure due to insufficient investment in the energy sector.
Others include inefficiency and unreliability of existing energy infrastructure services, increased economic and population growth, high cost of operating energy infrastructure facilities and the inability to prepare bankable projects.
Commenting on the development, COMESA assistant Secretary General for programmes Kipyego Cheluget called for investment in regional energy infrastructure to address the current energy poverty.
“…The region is on the way to achieving the Cape to Cairo electricity corridor by implementing the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya interconnector project. This project will pave the way for a competitive regional power market,” Ambassador Cheluget added.
COMESA Secretariat through the Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA) will facilitate the implementation of the ESREM project on behalf of the EA-SA-IO.
And European Union Zambia Office head of infrastructure Adam Grodzicki stressed the need for promotion of energy security and improvement of accessibility by the people.
Mr Grodzicki said the region also needs to have harmonised regulations as a way of attracting investment to the sector.