16 August 2017

East Africa: EAC Halts Creation of New Body

Arusha — The East African Community (EAC) has declined to establish another institution, citing financial constraints.

Proposals to upgrade the EA Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) into a full-fledged body under the Community hit a wall after the technocrats said it was short of funds for the purpose.

"The original plan of the Community was to have EACREEE as an EAC institution. However, due to financial constraints other innovative ways were devised", said the deputy secretary general (Productive and Social Sectors) Christophe Bazivamo.

He said instead the College of Engineering,Design, Art and Technology (Cedat) of the Makerere University in Uganda was selected to host the renewable energy facility as one of its centres of excellence.

Mr Bazivamo revealed this last weekend when he was addressed the board meeting of the centre whose creation received support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (Unido) and the Austrian Development Agency (Ada).

The principal of Cedat Prof Henry Alinaitwe informed the meeting held in Kampala that efforts were underway to formally register EACREEE as a semi-autonomous legal entity so that it can function smoothly.

However, the meeting concurred that while the regional energy centre would continue to be hosted at the Makerere University, a road map should be drawn to make it a full-fledged body of the EAC.

"Since its inauguration, Cedat has been working with several stakeholders to advance the centre's activities", said the Cedat principal Prof Alinaitwe.

Despite failure to register the renewable energy centre as an additional institution under the EAC, the deputy SG emphasized that renewable energy would continue to be among the key priority sectors.

"Low energy access rates, expensive electricity, poor cooking solutions have been hampering the region's development," Mr Bazivamo pointed out.

EACREEE was launched in Kampala, Uganda in June last year as a regional think-tank and focal point for sustainable energy activities and issues such as policy, capacity building, awareness creation and investment and business promotion.

The centre was also intended to act as a resource centre for sustainable energy issues while aiming at a creation of an enabling environment for regional renewable anergy and energy efficient markets and investments.

However, the cash-strapped EAC insisted that it was too early to transform the centre into n institution of the EAC due to funding constraints.

EAC currently has eight instititons scattered across the region and three substative organs at its Arusha headquarters; the Secretariat, EA Court of Justice and the East African Legislative Assembly.

The institutions are the Civil Aviation Safety and Security Oversight Agency (Cassoa), the EA Health Research Commission, EA Science and Technology Commission and the EA Kiswahili Commission.

Others are the Lake Victoria Basin Commission, Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, the East African Development Bank and the recenty established East African Competition Authority.

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