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East Africa Unites to Overcome Power Shortages

By John Daly | Thu, 21 February 2013 23:00 | 0

Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and Rwanda are burying their nationalism to cooperate on upgrading their energy infrastructure.

Tanzania has natural gas and coal, Kenya is a potential dynamo of geothermal power and has massive coal reserves, while Rwanda has methane gas, Burundi – peat, and while the nations have massive, and largely untapped hydro, wind and renewable energy resources.

The cost of the ambitious plan?

A mere $64 billion.

The East African Community nations region intends to spend $64 billion on joint power projects to generate eight times more power to end crippling energy shortages that have slowed regional economic growth, with the new spending plan released last week projecting that the joint power initiative aims to generate 26,649 megawatts of energy by 2038, a more than 800 percent increase from the current rate of megawatts pesently produced in the four nations.

The EAC is an intergovernmental organization between five countries in East Africa: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The EAC was originally founded in 1967, collapsed in 1977, and was officially revived on July 7, 2000 and, eight years later after negotiations with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the EAC agreed to an expanded free trade area including the member states of all three. The EAC is an integral part of the African Economic Community.

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Optimists assert that the East African Community is the potential precursor to the establishment of the East African Federation, a la the European Union, with its five member states developing a proposed federation.

The EAC has already had some modest success, as three years ago it launched its own common market for goods, labor and capital within the region, with the goal of full political federation in 2015.

According to the agreed upon agenda, the EAC will invest $14 billion within the next five years to increase the region’s installed electricity generation capacity.

EAC Secretariat director in charge of productive sectors Nyamajeje Weggoro is relentlessly upbeat about the proposed regional energy integration, stating that the region’s potential energy resources exceed 27,000 649 megawatts.

EAC Secretary General Richard Sezibera told reporters, “The region has identified priority generation and transmission projects required to meet projected electricity demand over the planning horizon.”

The EAC geographical region encompasses more than 695,000 square miles, and has a combined population of more than 132 million.

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Tanzanian Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda, opening the sixth East African Petroleum Conference (EAPCE 13) in Arusha, said that the regional power master plan considered the region’s rising power needs between 2013 and 2038 and it had identified generation and transmission projects “that will most optimally meet that demand,” adding that the EAC plans to develop two other master plans in the energy sector, specifically for fossil fuels and renewable energy, commenting, “The fast expansion of the region’s fossil fuels sub-sector both in upstream and downstream needs to be coordinated and consolidated to optimize the development of appropriate infrastructure in form of oil and gas pipelines. We need also storage facilities and refineries in an optimal and holistic manner that addresses all pertinent issues.”

Tanzanian Deputy minister for Energy and Minerals George Simbachawene told the conference, which has attracted nearly 1,000 energy experts, representatives of oil companies and representatives from the five EAC partner states, that the region had become an important zone for investment because of oil and gas discoveries.

So, great idea…

Just one question - where will the $64 billion come from?

By. John C.K. Daly of Oilprice.com

About the author

Contributor
John Daly
Company: U.S.-Central Asia Biofuels Ltd
Position: CEO

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