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Africa devises electricity market masterplan

Africa devises electricity market masterplan

The African Development Bank and the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) have agreed to jointly develop a Continental Power System Master Plan, a blueprint for a pan-continental electricity network and market.

According to a statement released to the media, the agreement to set up the masterplan between the Bank and AUDA-NEPAD was unveiled, on 29 November 2019, during a three-day workshop on the sidelines of Programme for Infrastructure Development (PIDA) Week held in Cairo.

Professor Mosad Elmissiry, a Senior Energy Advisor to AUDA-NEPAD's chief executive officer, said: "The Continental Power System Master Plan will ensure that competitive electricity markets are developed at regional and continental levels, creating unique opportunities to optimally utilize Africa's vast energy resources for the benefit of Africa."

The workshop was aimed at advancing the launch of an Integrated Continental Transmission Network (ICTN) to link national power utilities into regional power pools and, ultimately, into a continent-wide transmission network. Plans also include setting up a market for electricity trading.

The Masterplan also will inform the energy component of a PIDA Action Plan, which focuses on key regional integration projects.

Development of a unified electricity transmission network and market for electricity trading are viewed as a critical priority to improve the lives of people across the continent.

"Most state-owned electric utilities in Africa today are unable to secure the financial resources needed to implement required segments of regional interconnectors and associated national feeder lines," said Angela Nalikka, the Bank's manager for National and Regional Power Systems, to explain the impetus for the partnership.

"The Bank plans to encourage private sector participation in transmission projects in the continent."

South Africa blackouts

South African state-owned enterprise Eskom has dominated headlines in the country after implementing an ongoing programme of load shedding as it struggles to maintain power supply in the country.

Media reports have detailed how power instability has contributed to the country's negative trade and the expectation is that it will decline further in the next six months, according to Fin24's report based on the latest Trade Expectations Index (TEI), released by the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The country's president Cyril Ramaphosa is on record as having said that sabotage has contributed to the recent spate of uninterrupted load shedding.

This week, local energy expert Ted Blom, representing Energy Expert Coalition, said in email communication that Eskom has applied to the National Energy Regulator (NERSA) for a tariff increase to recover R27-billion in losses from load shedding.

According to the communication, the tariff increase will see electricity costs increase by up to 17%.

Power issues in Zimbabwe

In August 2019 media reports also focused on rolling blackouts in Zimbabwe which have continued to impact businesses and households.

In early November, a Bloomberg report said that the country's power utility warned of more power cuts after losing 251 megawatts from its Hwange power station.

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