April 2 2010: Initiatives at reducing the cost of energy, water and other utilities, whose consumption affects the competitiveness of businesses, are being pursued under the auspices of the Energy Efficiency Management Programme (EEMP) of the Center for Development of Enterprise (CDE).
Head of Regional Office of CDE in Southern Africa, Sid Boubekeur, said, “Infrastructure and utility provision have been identified as some of the major bottlenecks in enhancing productivity and competitiveness of enterprise in many developing countries like Botswana.”
While recognising that there was a global challenge in the form of energy efficiency, Boubekur pointed out that the European Union realized that the problem was much more serious in the case of African countries.
As such it was decided through the CDE, to launch the EEMP under which pretext of which an audit of at least 20 SME companies in the SADC region was to be conducted. The aim of the audit was so that ultimately the four targeted, and ultimately, the region as a whole may be helped to adopt the most energy efficient measures within their energy policies.
To that effect, recommendations were made and plans proposed as to how to actualise the recommended energy efficiency measures (EEM) in the operations of the SMEs.
Presenting the Audit results-based saving plans suited to the four targeted countries the CDE Consultant and Environmental Policy Specialist, Jean-Benoit Fournier, indicated that short term, medium and long term energy efficiency measures have been identified for the SMEs audited facility.
Calculations based on the audit results showed that total implementation costs per SME ranged from 3000 Euro to 66 000 Euro, while percentage energy cost reduction resulting from the implementation of the saving plans ranged from 5 to 40 percent for each SME.
Fournier posited that, “On that basis we are able to authoritatively say that total investment of the Action plans in the 20 selected SMEs is about 600 000 Euro, so that the total energy cost saving for the targeted SMEs amounts to 860 000.”
Thus, the outcome of the sensitisation and promotion of the CDE Energy Efficiency model is generally viewed as collective effort of participants and stakeholders from the concerned countries, with a collective aim of decreasing energy consumption, enterprise production costs and increasing enterprise competitiveness.
Head of EU Delegation, Ambassador Paul Malin, has said that the CDE initiative is practical step in empowering SMEs, because once they would have achieved the targeted objective of reducing energy consumption by at least 15 -30 percent, not only will their profit margin increase.
“In the advent of Regional integration and Economic Partnership Agreements , which SMEs cannot wish away, the Energy Efficiency Measures(EEM) initiative of CDE would amount to a relative levelling of the playing ground in favour of SMEs so that they could compete fairly in the market without being limited by utility costs,” said Malin.