COMESA Assistant General, Kipyego Cheluget says without adequate, reliable and affordable energy supplies, it is unlikely that desired social-economic transformation will be attained in the COMESA region.
Dr Cheluget has charged that in order to avert that, member States must therefore capitalize on regional integration which is one of the strong options that will facilitate countries to generate adequate economic growth, which in turn contribute to poverty reduction and wealth creation.
Speaking during the official opening of the session of the 8th meeting of the Programme Technical Steering Committee (PTSC) of the Project on enhancement of a sustainable energy market in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region in Livingstone, Dr Cheluget said that energy was an enabler for economic development.
He said that trade in energy is just as critical and beneficial as trade in goods and other services.
The COMESA assistant secretary general said that energy trade allows all nations to benefit from comparative and competitive advantages and from the advantages of the economies of scale and scope.
“It is, therefore, critical for is to promote the development of our regional infrastructure projects such as energy. In this regard the power sector should be open for the private sector investment and ownership,” he said.
He said that the region is beginning to see significant improvements in the generation capacity in line with the expected coming on stream of major power generation projects in many countries of Eastern Africa-Southern Africa Indian Ocean region.
Dr Cheluget said that the main challenge for many Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean countries is that generation capacity is not enough to cover bthe nations own needs and allow bfor cross border trade.
“Even though there are plans underway to improve bthe transmission capacity across borders, there is not yet enough capacity to secure an unimpeded trade across the countries and regions.
And Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa Chief Executive Officer Mohamedian Serif Elnasr said that the Eastern Africa- Southern Africa and Indian Ocean energy situation still shows how much work needs to be done to improve the situation.
Dr Elnasr said the improving the energy situation will ensure energy becomes a key enabler and game changer to doing business and increase the productivity of the industries.