The Board of the African Development Bank Group has approved grants of US$2.5 million to advance intra-regional harmonisation of electricity regulations.
This initiative is intended to drive cross-border power trading in the regions of the Community Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
According to the institution, US$1.5 million was offered to COMESA and US$1 million to SADC, sourced from the African Development Fund, the AfDB’s concessional financing window.
The projects will be implemented through the Regional Association off Energy Regulations for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA), and the Regional Energy Regulators Association of Southern Africa (RERA), the AfDB indicated.
Regarding the specific projects the funds will support, the bank highlighted that it will fund technical assistance to promote development and adoption of regional electricity regulatory principles.
Furthermore, it aims at enhancing capacity to monitor utility performance across the region, conduct a cross-border analysis of electricity tariffs, and develop a centralized database management system in both blocs.
AfDB executive director Mr Elijah Sichone said, “These two projects will be implemented through a combination of studies, capacity building and development of tools with the objective to facilitate the harmonisation of regulatory frameworks across SADC and COMESA regions to enhance electricity trade among SADC member states as well as improve access.”
In addition, Dr Mohamedain Seif Elnasr, the CEO of RARESA, remarked: “These Projects will contribute to ensuring that soft infrastructure requirements for the development of a regional power market are addressed to complement investments in hard infrastructure that the Bank and other development partners are making in the region.”
The percentage of the COMESA population with access to electricity is about 60 percent, but projections indicate that it will be around 80 percent by 2040.
COMESA has great potential of untapped energy potential, including hydropower in the DRC and Ethiopia, as well as solar, wind and geothermal reserves in Kenya and Uganda.
However, the region faces vast inadequacies in infrastructure, uncompetitive electricity tariffs and an overreliance on traditional fuel sources such as wood and charcoal.SADC has the highest generation capacity of all African regions, though it lags in terms of access and ample water, biomass, solar and wind energy. This is partly attributed to the inadequate regulatory environment, a need for new infrastructure and an overreliance on coal and hydropower. – The Vaultz News