ECA Holds a Series of Regulatory Reviews of the Electricity Sector in Africa

20 August 2020

The Economic Commission for Africa's Energy, Infrastructure and Services Section (EISS) of the Private Sector Division has undertaken a series of validation meetings related to implementing regulatory review of the electricity sector in Africa to crowd-in private sector investment. Following the development of a comprehensive regulatory review methodology which were validated and approved in December 2019, regulatory and policy data gathering in Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Angola, Ghana and Morocco resumed. Draft country reports and national regulatory data are validated subsequently along with senior country experts and representatives from energy institutions in these member States. "The regulatory review initiative contributes to the SDG7 Finance initiative of the ES in the one of its three pillar areas: governance of the electricity sector."

Mr. Yohannes Hailu, who is coordinating the initiative from EISS, indicated that these were fruitful meetings aimed at validating over 680 regulatory and policy data inputs at national level that enables detailed regulatory review of the electricity sector in Africa to effect greater private sector participation through regulatory improvements in the electricity value chain. Mr. Robert Lisinge, Chief of EISS, further highlighted the importance of the regulatory work not only to enhancing private sector engagement in energy development, but also to infrastructure development at large as regulation and finance remain key areas of ECA's engagement and efforts to address the infrastructure gap in the "Decade of Action."

The Ghana national validation meeting took place on July 17 and July 24, with the support of Minister John Peter Amewu. The meeting extensively reviewed the electricity regulatory environment in the generation, transmission, distribution and off-grid systems space with a goal of identifying enablers and current regulatory barriers to upscaling private sector investment in the sector. While Ghana made substantial improvements in electricity sector regulatory reform, the meeting observed the need to further enhance private sector models in the transmission and off-grid segments of the Ghanaian electricity sector.

The Zambia national validation meeting took place on the 22 of July based on the national draft report and compiled extensive regulatory data. Senior experts participated with the support of the Minister Mathew Nkuwa, and officially opened by Mr. Arnond Simwaba, representing the Ministry of Energy. Participants discussed key areas of further regulatory improvement in the electricity value chain, particularly in network investment.

Following ongoing engagement of the ECA with Angola in the energy sector, the national validation took place on July 27, with the support of Minister Joao Baptista Borges. The Angolan electricity market is at a cusp of transformation, with new regulatory provisions in the works. The assessment identified and discussed key barriers for private sector participation in the generation, transmission, distribution and off-grid systems of the electricity value chain, based on national regulatory data compiled. Further collaboration is called in regulatory environment enhancement in Angola.

The Kenya national validation meeting took place on July 28 (Part 1) and August 12 (Part 2) with full support from Minister Charles Keter and with Mr. Peter Thobora representing the Ministry. The meeting reviewed the extensive regulatory and policy data compiled for the electricity sector and validated every data entry, and reviewed the draft country report on regulatory review of the electricity sector of Kenya to crowd-in private sector investment. Key challenges in the transmission and distribution segments, as well as the evolving off-grid market of Kenya are discussed.

The South Africa national validation meeting took place on August 3, with the support of the Mr. Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. With the participation of senior experts from energy institutions of South Africa, including leadership and experts from ESKOM, validation of the national regulatory and policy data was undertaken, along with review of the draft South Africa report. Current challenges in the network and off-grid segments of the South African electricity system are identified and discussed. ECA is invited to provide further support in articulating certain segments of the South African off-grid market related to regulation and private sector participation in that segment of the market.

The Ethiopian national validation meeting took place on August 4, with the support of the Hon. Minister Seleshi Bekele. The meeting engaged the leadership and senior experts from various energy institutions of Ethiopia to validate the extensive regulatory and policy data assembled for Ethiopia with the help of the electricity sector regulatory authority. The meeting reviewed the national data, discussed key current regulatory barriers to private sector participation in the electricity value chain of Ethiopia and identified key areas of improvement. The draft national report was also presented. In the next steps, ECA seeks to provide further support and collaboration towards addressing regulatory challenges to fast-track private sector investment in the sector.

The Morocco national validation meeting is scheduled to take place on September 3, 2020.

In phase 2 of the "regulatory review of the electricity sector in Africa" work, the EISS is currently working in Rwanda, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Mauritania and Seychelles. Similar national data gathering and consultative engagements will take place from September to December 2020, finalizing the work and formulating a continental framework for private sector greater participation in the electricity value chain through addressing identified regulatory hurdles in Africa.

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