17 March 2009 - Lusaka Times
Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA, is confident that the Regional Association of Energy Regulators for the Eastern and Southern Africa, RAERESA, would help member countries achieve infrastructure development in the energy sector.
COMESA Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya, said RAERESA, once launched, will bridge the energy infrastructure gap that has been identified as one of the main priorities of COMESA in the infrastructure Development.
Mr. Ngwenya also stressed that lack of inadequate regional energy infrastructure in the region has lead to high production costs of energy prices and high energy losses which have contributed to low levels of comparatives of countries in the regional and global markets.
Speaking at the meeting for the launch of RAERESA , Mr. Ngwenya said COMESA embarked on the an energy programme whose main aim is to promote regional cooperation in energy development , capacity building and trade.
He said the programme is intended to harmonize the energy policy and regulatory issues that will develop the COMESA region energy infrastructures through the development of medium to long- term energy plan that will facilitate trade in the energy services.
Mr. Ngwenya noted that the energy regulatory frame work will assist in the reformation of the sector there by providing plans and frameworks that will regulate the energy supply and demand.
He however said many COMESA countries have establishment their energy regulatory set up whose mandate include enforcement, licensing, rule making and approval of tariffs through the harmonization of the energy regulatory system that has become a regional and international trend.
And speaking at the launch Energy Deputy Minster, Gladys Lundwe, said it was important to develop the regional power infrastructure and the need to adopt an integrated approach to the generation and transmission of power.
Ms Lundwe, further, said the association will facilitate the enhancement of energy reliability in the region and reduce energy costs which in turn will enhance international competitiveness of exports products and strengthen regional integration.
She noted that energy plays an important role in the process of development as it is one of the basic inputs in the process of economic and social development.
Ms Lundwe further noted that COMESA region has currently estimated a deficit in electricity supply at 20percent of demand adding that it is expected to be exacerbated in the forthcoming years to 46 percent by 2011.