A CLIMATE change expert says there is no immediate solution to the electricity deficit Zambia and the entire southern African region is facing apart from more investment in the energy sector.
Mclay Kanyangarara, a climate change advisor at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), says the quickest way to solve the power deficit is to promote trade in the energy sector across the Southern African region.
Dr Kanyangarara said in an interview that the solution for Zambia is in connecting to the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP).
He said the Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya power interconnector project is important because once it is fully operational, the country will be able to import power from East African countries.
“There is no immediate solution to this electricity deficit other than waiting for more rainfall or build more power plants.So, this means there is going to be shortage of electricity for a very long while.
“But the quickest way to solve this is to promote trade in energy across the region and for this to happen, we need power grids that are interconnected,” Dr Kanyangarara said.
He said there is less surplus of power in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), to which Zambia belongs, to allow for significant trade among member countries because most southern African nations are experiencing power shortages.
Dr Kanyangarara said countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland are experiencing power shortages and so not much trade can be done among SAPP member states.
In December 2014, Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya signed a US$1.2 billion power inter-connector project agreement aimed at promoting trade in electricity and foster economic integration.
The inter-governmental agreement sets out principles that will define the relationship among the countries as they develop the inter-connection line.
And COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said the power outages are not unique to Zambia as other countries across Africa are experiencing similar challenges.
Mr Ngwenya said climate change is one of the causes of power deficit in Africa, arising from less rainfall due to indiscriminate cutting of trees.
Mr Ngwenya said the power deficit cannot be solved by an individual country.