|KIGALI – The East African Community, in partnership with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, has launched the Energy Security Policy Framework will help East African countries tackle the increasing energy insecurity affecting the region.|
“Deforestation, rising wood and charcoal prices, increasing imports of oil and gas are some of the symptoms of energy insecurity we face in East Africa. This framework will facilitate regional collaboration to collectively improve energy security,” said Andrew Mold, Acting Director of the ECA in East Africa during the launch in Kigali, Rwanda on November 22.
ECA studies show that the lack of secure electricity supply undermines the pace of growth by 2% up to 5% of GDP. Due to over reliance on fossil fuels and a lack of refining capacity, petroleum imports amount to as much as 10% of GDP in East African countries. About 90% of the EAC population also rely excessively on biomass (charcoal and firewood) for energy sources, leading to rapid deforestation and creating long-term risks to the security and sustainability of the energy supply.
Christophe Bazivamo, Deputy Secretary General of the East African Community explained: “Without affordable and security energy supplies, we face hurdles of industrial development, and a growing dependence on imported energy that undermines our balance of payments and macroeconomic performance. Without energization, there will be no industrialization!”
ECA launched the Energy Security Policy Framework during the annual regional meeting of the organization in East Africa, focusing on the implementation of the continental free trade area. More investment in energy infrastructure is needed to increase trade relations on the continent and ensure the success of the AfCFTA.
The EAC policy framework aims at improving security and affordability of energy supply, and advancing the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 7 on universal access on clean, affordable, sustainable and reliable energy.
Robert Nyavumba, Manager of the Energy Division, Ministry of Infrastructure, Rwanda insisted: “much of the progress we seek to achieve as a society, in terms of better education, health, job creation, industrialization, efficient public services and others rely on sustainable, affordable and dependable supply of energy.”
The framework will enhance Africa’s resilience. “It will provide guidance to member States on the measurement, monitoring and management of energy security in the biomass, electricity and oil and gas sub-sectors”, conclude Yohannes Hailu, energy expert at ECA.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO