Africa’s energy reform: ECA, partners launch training programme

Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]

THE Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in partnership with the RES4Africa Foundation and Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), has completed a High-Level Policy and Regulatory Training on Electricity Market Design to tackle regulatory barriers in Africa impacting private investors in renewable energy.

The training programme held in Nairobi, Kenya, from 5 to 7 June 2024 marked a significant stride in advancing Africa’s electricity reform agenda and boosting private sector involvement in clean energy infrastructure.
Named “Advancing Africa’s Electricity Reform Agenda: Towards Increased Private Sector Participation in Clean Energy Infrastructure,” the initiative expands on prior regulatory efforts by ECA and RES4Africa dating back to 2019.

Over the last four years, the project has evaluated electricity policy and regulatory frameworks in 16 African nations, furnishing data-driven recommendations to improve regulatory transparency, appeal and preparedness for private sector funding.

ECA Technology, Innovation, Connectivity and Infrastructure acting director, Mr Robert Lisinge, highlighted the importance of de-risking investments, stating that de-risking investment, especially in an environment where the continent attracts a fraction of global energy investments, calls for a serious look at the policy and regulatory system.
He said addressing pressing regulatory constraints and, in some cases, regulatory absence, provides clarity to investors.

“ECA’s energy regulation and investment program aims to bridge this barrier by supporting member states in their efforts to advance regulation and de-risk their markets,” he said.

Similarly, ECA Energy Policy Expert Mr Yohannes Hailu, pointed out that enabling greater private sector investment and participation in Africa’s electricity markets through policy and regulatory enhancements is crucial for sustainable financing.

While Governments are seized with pushing large-scale investments in big power stations, household consumers and private players, including companies, have recently increased investments in renewable sources such as solar.
Recent data indicates a rise in LP Gas usage in Zimbabwe, with over 400 million kilogrammes consumed from 2015 to March 2024.

Through the National Development Strategy (NDS1: 2021-2025), Zimbabwe aims to raise renewable energy-based power supply to 1 100 MW by 2025.

The Government has introduced fiscal incentives to attract new investments in alternative energy sources.
RES4Africa Foundation secretary general Mr Roberto Vigotti said: “At RES4Africa, we believe that the future of Africa’s energy lies in the hands of a well-informed and empowered community of policymakers, regulators and industry leaders.”

Mr Vigotti said the training represents a pivotal step towards creating an enabling environment for private sector investments in the clean energy sector adding that by collaborating closely with ECA, GSE and other partners, they aim to drive the energy transition across the continent, ensuring sustainable, reliable and affordable electricity for all.

ECA maintains ongoing collaboration with member states in advancing regulation and market de-risking measures. This collaboration involves developing and implementing supportive regulatory instruments, capacity-building initiatives and technical assistance to address the investment gap in the sector.

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