18 June 2012

Cameroon: Rural Electrification - Stakeholders Examine Investment Obstacles

Stakeholders in the energy sector are unanimous that lack of financing and inadequate technical standards of private operators are responsible for their timid or non-involvement in investment in the sector especially rural electrification. Both actors of the public and private sectors made the observation on June 18, during a reflection forum on the obstacles that inhibit small and medium-size enterprises from investing in the energy sector.

Organised by the Electricity Sector Regulatory Agency, ARSEL, and chaired by the Minister of Water and Energy Resources, Basile Atangana Kouna, the reflection was in line with the effective take off of a 36-month renewable energy project, 'Invest'Elec', championed by ARSEL and the European Union. The project, its factsheet indicates, seeks to build the capacities of Cameroonian small and medium-size enterprises in view of inciting them to invest in renewable energy and rural electrification, promote private/public sector partnerships as well as engendering sustainable development in the sector.

Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Yaounde Hilton Hotel, Dr. Atangana Kouna said the private sector is an indispensable partner in meeting the energy needs of the country. Getting them onboard the development chain, he added, would be a push to government's unending quest for quality and quantity energy supply at affordable cost, capable of catapulting the economy to emergence. Invest'Elec', the Minister said, is timely given the path government has taken "I count on the private sector so that together we can identify the obstacles as well as propose solutions in view of attaining our growth vision," he noted.

Like the representative of the European Union, Daniela Socaciu, the Director General of ARSEL, Jean Pierre Kedi, said the problems identified and the solutions suggested will be forwarded to government for action. After yesterday's debate, the participants will today begin training on how to draw up suitable electricity projects for funding. Plans are underway to carry out similar training in other pilot centres in Garoua, Ngaoundere, Douala and Bamenda.

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