• Sun. Jun 4th, 2023

    ECA, Foundation move to enhance Africa’s electricity sector


    Mar 29, 2023

    The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and RES4Africa Foundation are collaborating to support African countries with evidence-based national electricity market regulatory reviews.

    The Commission said on Wednesday that the collaboration was to also promote the creation of policy and regulatory frameworks for greater openness, attractiveness, and readiness of African electricity markets to private investment.

    Both organisations hosted a high-level public-private dialogue on Private Sector Investment in Electricity and Infrastructure Development in Africa to ensure the realisation of these objectives.

    The event, which brought together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including policymakers, international organisations, and decision-makers working in energy and infrastructure, was hosted with support from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to enhance the electricity reform agenda.

    The participants discussed the changes needed in policy and regulatory frameworks to ensure adequate openness, attractiveness, and readiness of African markets to private investments.

    The acting Executive Secretary of ECA, Antonio Pedro said that the policy and regulatory challenges would require infrastructure that could support growth and prosperity.

    “Investments in energy and infrastructure will help leverage the opportunities for economic diversification.

    According to him, this can be done through increased intra-African trade and regional economic integration and provide economic opportunities for the growing African youth and its vibrant population.

    “These investments will help us close the existing energy access gap,’’ he said.

    Pedro disclosed that more than 600 million Africans currently do not have access to electricity and we generate only four per cent of the global energy, this has to change.

    He said although African governments funded majority of our infrastructure projects, a crowd-in private sector investment to finance sustainable infrastructure development at scale was required.

    The acting secretary said the event was divided into three sections, each one providing valuable insights and actionable strategies for advancing energy reform and infrastructure development in Africa.

    “The first two parts consisted of high-level political forums on Energy Infrastructure Financing and Private Sector Role.

    He said it also involved the role of policies and regulations in private investments in energy and infrastructure, with a focus on how private-public partnerships could drive investment and growth.

    The third portion he said discussed Advancing the Electricity Reform Agenda in Africa focused on developing competitive electricity markets in Africa, transitioning to economically competitive markets, and ensuring reliable and accessible electricity systems.

    “The discussions highlighted the importance of fostering public-private coordination for scaling up infrastructure investments in Africa,’’ he said.

    Pedro said participants at the event reiterated that policy reforms should prioritise transparency, predictability, and competitiveness, while ensuring the protection of public interest and social welfare.

    “This could be achieved by creating clear rules and guidelines, promoting competition, and reducing bureaucratic obstacles.

    He highlighted the successful coordination between public and private sectors required trust, communication, and a shared vision for development.

    The State Minister for Energy Development of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Sultan Woli, recognised the importance of continuing a low-carbon path that leverages the potential in clean and renewable energy.

    “Ethiopia has invested in developing geothermal, wind, solar and other areas of sustainable energy to deliver on our goals,’’ Woli said.

    The President of RES4Africa, Salvatore Bernabei said a clear, stable and transparent regulatory framework was critical to boost private investment and accelerate the development of infrastructure in Africa.

    Bernabei said conducive policy and regulatory environment plays a major role in mitigating policy and regulatory risks to infrastructure investment by the private sector.

    The President, National Electricity Regulatory Authority of Morocco and MEDREG, Abdellatif Bardach, said private sector had a role to play in reforms that support participation in the electricity sector.

    “Our role as regulator is to ensure clear rules and policies, a transparent decision-making process, and a level playing field.’’ (NAN)

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