Home | News    Tuesday 22 February 2005

Experts from nine African countries to form East African Power Pool

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, Feb 21, 2005 (ENA) — Utility and ministry experts from nine African countries began a two-day deliberation here on Monday on the establishment of the Eastern African Power Pool (EAPP).

EAPP will be established by electric power corporations (Companies) of Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Egypt.

Ethiopian State Minister of Infrastructure Haile Asegide told the opening of the Experts’ meeting that Sub-Saharan Africa in general and Eastern Africa in particular are far behind the rest of the world in terms of infrastructure development and access to electricity and per capital consumption is below the world average.

Haile says, "In most countries, the rural population has little or no access to electricity. Ethiopia is no exception. One cannot think of eradicating poverty in the rural area without tackling the issue of rural infrastructure services. Supply of electricity to the rural poor is one of the most important instruments to poverty reduction."

He indicated the need to cooperate at the regional level and synergize [last element as published] efforts to optimize the abundant energy potential and maximize output in a bid to fuel the economic development of the region and to the reduction of poverty.

He said establishment of EAPP also goes in line with the Mission and Objectives of the African Union and Nepad.

Ethiopia has proposed to host the EAPP permanent secretariat.

General manager of the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) Mihret Debebe said on the occasion that the series of meetings this week by the utility and ministry experts as well as the CEO’s and ministers of energy of the respective countries would hopefully culminate in formalizing the establishment of EAPP and setting up of statutory bodies.

The Union of Producers, Transporters and Distributors of Electric Power in Africa (UPDEA) has been playing the role of coordination and leadership in the process of the establishment of EAPP. Support in the effort to realize what Mihret described as "important step in the economic integration of the region" came also from the UNECA [UN Economic Commission for Africa], the AU and other development partners.

"The establishment of the power pool is not an end in itself," says Mihret. "If the power pool has to function properly, the member utilities have to continue their active participation demonstrated during the establishment phase. The power pool shall function smoothly only through participation of its members."

"All regions of the continent except Eastern Africa by now have established their power pools. The next logical stage therefore is to integrate the sub regional power pools to create African Power Pool. East Africa should not be the missing link. We have to make EAPP a reality."

The experts are expected to finalize and submit the draft Inter Governmental Memorandum of Understanding to the pertinent ministers on Thursday [24 February] for review and signature.

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