The business community in the region has thrown its weight behind efforts aimed at promoting and developing the renewable energy sub-sector.
Fiona Uwera, the East African Business Council (EABC) technical liaison officer for Rwanda, said it is essential for the region to invest in renewable energy resources to reduce deficit.
"The potential of biofuels in the region is huge... However, this and other renewable energy resources have not yet been fully exploited despite the high demand for energy," Uwera said.
"Regional stakeholders, including policy-makers, governments and the private sector should lead the debate on renewable energy development."
Uwera added that there is also need to harmonise strategies for scaling up renewable energy development to increase access to energy in the region.
Rwanda has invested heavily in renewable energy, and looks to increase power production five-fold, from 120 megawatts to 563 megawatts by 2017.
Hydropower accounts for 59 per cent of the electricity produced in Rwanda, while the rest is from fossil fuels.
Uwera said it is crucial for regional businesses and governments to work together and develop the renewable energy sub-sector.
Dona Sava, the East African Business Council communication manager, told The New Times yesterday that availing information on renewable energy projects in the region to the business community will play a key role in developing cutting-edge renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in the region.
Renewable energy is essential to ensure sustainable development and environmental protection, besides providing affordable power.
Meanwhile, issues related to the development of renewable energy in the region are expected to be the focus during a forthcoming regional forum organised by EABC and the East Africa Community secretariat.
The meeting will also review the current status of the renewable energy sub-sector, according to Andrew Luzze, the EABC executive director.
"The meeting will discuss policies on environmental protection and the required policy reforms, financing framework, government priority areas and investment opportunities in renewable energy industry," Luzze added.
The forum is scheduled for October 31 through November 1, in Dar es Salaam, and will be held under the theme, "Securing Energy for Business in East Africa".