COMESA region currently has the lowest electricity generation with approximately 630 million people living without reliable access to electricity and 790 million people forced to rely on solid biomass to cook their food and heat their homes.
Studies show that about 1.3 billion people worldwide still lack access to modern energy. However, the situation is worse in the developing economies, where more than 70% of their people lack access to modern energy and 89% or more still rely on traditional biomass as the primary source of energy. Sub-Saharan Africa’s energy systems face an enormous challenge.
Significant improvements have in the recent year been made in the generation capacity with the coming on stream of major power generation projects in many countries of Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region.
These have been supported by various programmes such as the Project on Enhancement of a Sustainable Energy Market in Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Region (ESREM), funded by the European Union with seven million euros.
The ESREM project is tailored to address energy challenges in the Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region, through the support from the European Union.
The overall objective of the programme is to enhance a sustainable regional energy market in the Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region, which is conducive to investment and promoting sustainable development.
Recently, the ESREM Technical Steering Committee (PTSC) conducted its fifth meeting virtually to review the progress of its implementation of the work programme.
The COMESA Assistant Secretary-General in Charge of Programmes, Dr Kipyego Cheluget said, trade-in energy was just as critical and beneficial as trade in goods and other services.
“Energy trade allows all nations to benefit from their comparative and competitive advantages and from the advantages of the economies of scale and scope,” he said.
“The promotion of regional infrastructure projects such as energy is therefore critical and should be opened for the private sector investment and ownership.”
A representative of the European Union Adam Grodzicki said a critical assessment relating to the current situation of the Covid-19 needs to be done to determine its impact on the energy sector and how it has affected Trade and Services in the region.
He indicated that the EU is launching the mid-term evaluation of the project with COMESA to see how improvements can be made to the implementation of the project amid the Covid-19 Pandemic as this shall create a solid foundation for enhancing energy markets in the region.