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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Member-States Pledge Cooperation Over Power Genaration

The ministers responsible for electricity affairs in the countries of Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, and Tanzania who met in Rwanda this Thursday have reaffirmed their commitment to the development of electric power resources in Eastern Africa countries.

The ministers who were meeting to assess the progress made in the electricity interconnection project dubbed “ Eastern Africa Power Pool” for the region jointly declared that there was an urgent need to increase access, improve security of supply and provide more generation and transmission capability of electricity in the region. The joint ministerial statement was read by Jasper Oduor, the Executive Secretary of the Eastern Africa Power Pool.

The ministers also said that cost saving opportunities could arise through integrated regional system planning, coordinated investment and power system operation.

However, the ministers of energy of Egypt and the minister in charge of electricity in Sudan expressed reservations concerning the reference to the Nile Basin Initiative as a working partner of the Eastern Africa Power Pool. They also expressed their preference that the Nile Basin initiative not be referred to at all in the resolutions of this declaration. But this concern did not receive consensus.

The challenge for such a project of interconnecting the region and creating an enabling environment for the buying and selling of power between the member states of the power pool according to Rwanda’s State Minister in Charge of Energy and Water, Coletha Ruhamya is the issue of lack of enough capacity for Rwanda to handle the project. But for Adam Ali Malima, Tanzania’s Deputy Minister for Energy and Minerals, the size of the project is what worries him.

The Eastern Africa Power Pool is headquartered in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. It was adopted by Heads of State and Government at the 11th Summit of COMESA in Djibouti in November, 2006 as a specialized institution of COMESA for electrical power for Eastern Africa.

The overall objective of the project is to facilitate regional integration and hence to realize sustainable growth and development.

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