•EAC Secretary-General Peter Mathuki urges EREA to put in place a structured engagement framework for the harmonisation of energy policies in the region.
•According to the EAC secretariat, energy drives everything in the world today including digitalisation.
The East African Community secretariat is keen to partner with the Energy Regulator Association of East Africa (EREA) to push for affordable and reliable energy in the region.
These includes advocating for policies and decision making on energy matters at both the national and regional levels, with EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki urging EREA to put in place structures for harmonisation of energy policies.
Mathuki advised the association to seek observer status at the EAC especially on matters to do with trade, infrastructure, energy, and investment.
He spoke at the EAC Headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania when he received the Executive Secretary of EREA, Geoffrey Mabea, who had paid him a courtesy call.
According to Mathuki,reliable and affordable energy sources are key to the attainment of all the four stages of the EAC integration–Customs Union, Common Market, Monetary Union, and Political Federation.
The first thing an investor asks in a country is the cost of energy. We need to reduce the costs of energy in the region to facilitate investmentEAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki
“Energy is a driver and enabler of all sectors of the economy. The harmonisation of partner states’ national policies governing energy is therefore critical,” said Mathuki.
He said harmonising energy policies in the region and making energy affordable is crucial to improving the business environment in East Africa and increasing its attractiveness as an investment and trade hub.
“The first thing an investor asks in a country is the cost of energy. We need to reduce the costs of energy in the region to facilitate investment,” said Mathuki.
In a rejoinder, Mabea said energy drives everything in the world today including digitalisation.
He said EREA was spearheading efforts to establish the East African Energy Union.
“EREA is harmonising methodologies for arriving at tariffs across the region. Currently, every country has its own methods of arriving at tariffs. This makes investment in the region very difficult due to differing energy tariffs,” said Mabea.
The push for an East African Energy Union basically seeks to harmonise the energy policies of the EAC member countries.
It has three objectives, that is, to harmonise energy policies, capacity building for the energy sector in the region and to provide advisory and information sharing to enable EAC member states to facilitate trade in energy, he noted.
EREA has developed over 40 tools and frameworks to enhance the harmonisation of energy policies and tariffs.
It is also at an advanced stage of establishing an East African Centre for Energy Regulation, which it is seeking support from member states in making it a reality.
Kenya has one of the highest electricity tariffs in the region ranging between $0.15(Sh16) and $0.21(Sh22) per kWh, making local industries uncompetitive.
In Uganda, manufacturers pay $0.10(Sh11) per kWh while in Tanzania, the cost of electricity averages $0.14 (Sh15)per kWh.