By Petronella Sibeene
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministers of Energy have agreed to review the region’s energy activity plan after every five years to avert energy shortfalls in the region in future.
The SADC Energy Activity Plan approved in 2000 highlights priority activities in the energy sector.
According to the Executive Secretary of the Regional Energy Regulators Association (RERA), Elijah Sichone, who attended the just-ended SADC Ministers of Energy meeting in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the plan spells out priority initiatives to be pursued in the energy sector in response to the energy needs of the region at a particular time.
“It has been eight years since the plan was approved and reviewing the plan every five years will ensure that challenges are anticipated and mitigating measures put in place (on time),” he said.
The SADC energy situation document shows that the overall objective of the energy activity plan is to detail a programme of prioritised activities that could be implemented over a three- to five-year period.
Ministers agreed to engage consultancy work to revise the plan and make recommendations on the best strategies to successfully implement proposed programmes and activities in the energy sector.
Consultation into the plan to be followed by a study review by member states is expected to be complete by December.
Severe power shortages in the region experienced today were predicted as far back as 1999.
Energy ministers attribute the current power shortfall to lack of investment in the power sector in the past 20 years as well as failure by member states to implement most projects.
“The current situation calls for an urgent review and creation of a conducive environment that would assist in fast-tracking the much-needed investment,” Sichone said.
He added that the RERA with USAID trade hub support is working on measures to create an enabling environment for investment.
“The ministers regretted the energy paradox where the region is experiencing energy shortfalls against the backdrop of enormous energy resources,” said a communiqu??????’??