The Southern African Development Community (SADC) which is on the throes of growing energy crisis has been warned in clear cut terms to invest and improve infrastructure in order to ease the energy crisis.
This was the message coming out from the second stakeholder forum of the Africa-EU Energy partnerships (AEEP) whose discussions were centred on investment, access to electricity and energy security.
Regional organisations which were in attendance say there is an urgent need for the bloc to invest and improve the current infrastructure and also adopt renewable energy. Most countries in SADC are failing to meet peak demand and are in a deficit. They also do not have spare electricity which they can export resulting in the bloc resorting to load shedding.
The growing demand has also been exacerbated by South Africa’s 2015 power crisis. Botswana, amongst other countries like Lesotho and Swaziland were heavily dependent and importing power from South Africa before their crisis. However, as a result of the power crisis which saw South Africa failing to meet its own demand, supply to these countries was cut.
The AEEP forum also applauded Botswana and South Africa for their efforts to bring out new plants which are expected to ease the power burden in the region. The forum also brought to the fore the need for power utilities in the block to attract investment, something echoed by the African Development Bank (AfDB). African Development Bank Chief Energy Specialist, Dr Jacques Moulot said the bloc must also urgently improve the regulatory environment, policies and address the bankability of power utilities.
Drought has also added challenges to the power crisis as some countries such as Zambia and Zimbabwe rely heavily on hydro electricity. Since 90 percent of Zambia’s electricity is hydro, it means they will now depend on other countries to use coal to generate power.