Energy regulators meet in Kenya to boost access to electricity in Africa

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NAIROBI, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Energy regulators from across Africa began a two-day meeting in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, Wednesday to discuss ways of accessing electricity in the region.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) electricity workshop brought together electricity regulators from 21 African countries in northern, eastern and southern Africa to discuss ways to reduce the percentage of the population without access to electricity.

Mohamedain Seif ElNasr, chief executive officer of the Regional Association of Energy Regulators of Eastern and Southern Africa, said Wednesday that more than 300 million people in the region are not connected to the national electricity grid. "We need to tap the abundant geothermal, solar and wind resources in order to enable households and businesses to benefit from renewable electricity."

He noted that harmonized electricity laws and regulations will allow the trade of electricity between countries with surplus production to those with deficits and result in increased access to reliable electricity across Africa.

Solomon Sarpong, senior energy economist at the AfDB, said that countries in Africa should cooperate in the development of their electricity generation capacity, given that some of the green energy sources are transboundary. He suggested that countries should endeavor to attract private investment in the energy sector to augment public resources in the exploitation of renewable energy sources.

Lee Okombe, senior research and policy analyst at Kenya's Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority, said that Africa lags behind the rest of the world in access to electricity despite its abundant energy sources.

He added that one avenue to reduce the gap of the population without access to electricity is the harmonization of electricity tariffs across Africa, which will promote competition in the energy trade. Enditem

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