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COMESA Initiative Aims to Enhance Regional Energy Regulation for Increased Access and Trade

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is spearheading efforts to harmonize energy regulatory frameworks across the region, aiming to bolster access to reliable and affordable electricity while fostering cross-border power trading.

With the support of a $1.5 million grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB), COMESA has launched a project focused on advancing the harmonization of electricity regulations within its member states.

The initiative, unveiled during a two-day inception workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, marks a significant stride toward addressing the pressing need for enhanced energy governance in the COMESA region.

The workshop, attended by energy stakeholders from 13 regional states, serves as a platform to evaluate strategies for developing cohesive regulatory frameworks tailored to improve electricity regulation. Consultants engaged in the initiative have presented draft inception reports, soliciting feedback from participants to refine approaches, methodologies, and work plans.

Dr. Mohamedain Elnasr, CEO of the COMESA Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA), highlighted the stark energy disparity within the region, noting that nearly half of the 600 million population lack reliable and affordable electricity.

Dr. Elnasr emphasized the urgent need for concerted efforts to bridge this gap, particularly as the region boasts abundant and underutilized renewable energy resources.

Senior Energy Economist at AfDB, Mr. Solomon Sarpong, underscored the importance of practical frameworks for an integrated regional energy market. He stressed the necessity of stakeholder engagement and buy-in to ensure the success and implementability of the initiative.

Mr. Lee Okombe, Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, Kenya, emphasized the legal and data management challenges facing the region.

He called for aligned regulatory frameworks to facilitate energy trade and attract private sector investment, ultimately fostering competition and expanding energy access.

The COMESA project comprises three key components: the elaboration and adoption of Regional Electricity Regulatory Principles (RERP), the development of Regulatory and Utility Key Performance Indicators (UKPI), and the establishment of an Information Management System for RAERESA.

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