SADC makes strides in energy sector

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Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) appears to be making significant progress in the energy sector after the implementation of the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan.

As infrastructure is central to its goals of poverty eradication and regional integration, SADC developed the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan as a strategic framework guiding infrastructure development in Southern Africa.

Built on a foundation of harmonised policies and a joint pool of resources, the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan highlights key challenges for infrastructure in the region and establishes specific targets for bridging gaps and removing bottlenecks, in turn aiming to unlock the region’s potential.

The Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan’s six pillars of infrastructure: energy, transport, information and communications technology, meteorology, transboundary water resources, and tourism.

For each of these sectors, indicators and targets are outlined for improvement. The plan looks at those indicators currently operating in the region, strategies for funding and institutional mechanisms, and critical factors for success.

SADC appears to be moving into the right direction with the energy sector if information revealed this week during the SADC Council of Ministers’ meeting is anything to go by.

In the energy sector, these achievements include the Malawi-Mozambique Transmission Interconnector project that reached financial closure in September 2019, with financing from the World Bank, KfW and the government of Norway.

“The construction phase of the project is planned to commence in April 2020, and is expected to be commissioned by 2022. Upon commissioning, Malawi will be able to access the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) grid, and trade electricity with other SADC member states,” said SADC Executive Secretary Dr Stergomena Tax during the opening of the SADC Council of Ministers’ meeting on Wednesday.

In addition, the feasibility study for Kolwezi-Solwezi Interconnector (Zambia) and associated substations funded by the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (IPPF), together with contributions by the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zambia national utility, Zesco, was completed in November 2019.

Furthermore, the government of the DRC signed a treaty with the government of South Africa to supply 5,000 megawatts (MW), which will also include Botswana, DRC, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, once the Intergovernmental Memorandum is signed.

Construction of the Julius Nyerere Hydropower Dam along the Rufiji River in Tanzania also commenced in June 2019, while commissioning is expected in 2022. Upon completion, the project will have capacity to produce 2,115 megawatts of electricity that will feed into the electricity grids of Tanzania, Zambia, Kenya, and Uganda.

 

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