Inadequate regulatory environments and governance challenges facing the energy sector in the eastern and southern Africa region have undermined efforts to attract investment in the region.
Assistant Secretary General in charge of programmes at COMESA, Dr Kipyego Cheluget told a meeting of communication experts and journalists that poor market governance and regulatory challenges continue to hinder implementation of energy projects especially with respect to renewable energy and private sector participation.
The meeting brought together communications experts, journalists and energy experts from five Regional Economic Communities, Regional Association of Energy Regulators, Regional Power Pools, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Centres and regional power pools.
His speech was presented by the Chief Executive Officer of the COMESA, Regional Association of Regulatory Authorities in the Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA) Dr Mohamedain Seif Elnasr, today in Nairobi.
“The region has enormous unexploited natural resources required for power sector development,” he observed. “However, renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, bioenergy, etc, which are yet to be harnessed, are found all over Africa, taking into account that they are site specific.”
It is against this background, he said, that COMESA, through RAERESA, is implementing the EU funded Action on ‘Enhancement of a Sustainable Regional Energy Market in the Eastern Africa-Southern Africa- Indian Ocean region’ (ESREM).
ESREM is a seven million euros project funded by the European Union following the signing of the grant agreement in May 2017. It is being implemented in member States of the COMESA, the EAC, IGAD, SADC and the Indian Ocean Commission. Its objective is to harmonize regulatory frameworks and capacitate regional energy regulators and power pools to foster a vibrant energy market.
To demonstrate the energy crisis in the region, Dr Cheluget, said Africa has an average electrification rate of 24%, while the rate in the rest of the developing world lies closer to 40%.
“Even in the areas covered by the electrical grid, power is often unreliable. Perhaps a confounding variable of these trends is that less than 1% of the electricity generated in the Africa originates from renewable energy resources,” he said.
The Secretary for Electrical Power Development, Ministry of Energy, Kenya, Eng. Julius Mwathani said increase in renewable energies use is hampered by access to finance, knowledge and technologies.
To fully harness the countries renewable energy potential, Eng. Mwathani said collaborative efforts was critical among stakeholders.
The representative of the European Union Delegation to Kenya Mr. Jean-Noel Gangloff, said the key aspirations of the ESREM project was ‘to drive predictability in the market for investors, stability in the supply of energy for consumers and efficiency as well as sustainability in the exploitation of energy resources for electricity production.
The training of communications professionals is intended to raise public awareness on ESREM project and energy development programmes in the three sub regions of Africa. The training ends, Tuesday July 31, 2018 with a visit to the wind power project at the Ngong Hills near Nairobi City.