One of the key reasons why sustainable development has not been achieved to the anticipated levels within the East African region is poor access to cleaner domestic and commercial energy. In the domestic sector energy is required for cooking, lighting, space heating pumping water and powering electrical and electronic apparatus. The commercial energy is the prime mover in industry. It is used inter alia, for providing energy for electrical machinery, heating, lighting, air conditioning and transportation, etc.
The East African countries are hoping to achieve rapid industrialization by the year 2020 and are also hoping to provide sufficient energy for the rapidly rising population. This means that the countries of East Africa must provide jobs for the rising population in the hope of reducing poverty. Poverty level in the region is already very high.
Energy Supply in East Africa
The East African countries are endowed with diverse energy resources capable of meeting all their short and long term needs. However, technologies required for extracting and delivering energy to meet the demand for now and the future needs to be critically examined.
Tanzania is endowed with natural gas which could meet the regions requirements for the next 50 years or so. There is great potential for hydro-electricity supply in region, particularly in Uganda and Kenya that if fully exploited could supply sufficient electricity in the long term. There is a possibility of inter-connectivity of the current electricity network in the region to the southern pool to supply sufficient electricity in the region. The East African Oil Refineries at Mombasa could be upgraded to supply sufficient petroleum products for the region. The current Kenya pipelines company pipeline system could be extended to serve the whole of the East African region. So where is the problem?
Meeting the Demand
Could CDM be used to acquire technologies to solve the current and future energy demand? The East African countries are members of the East African Community. There is a need of collective planning for energy demand to meet the current and future requirements of the region. Most of the countries in the region are also members of the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA). May be COMESA could be used as a vehicle to tap into the current excess supply of energy (electricity and coal) for current shortfall of energy demand.
The East African countries are tied to other treaties and agreements such as the of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) etc. The region is supposed to plan according to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), yet these initiatives are not fully understood and explored in the region.
Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) are best placed to create awareness at all levels in the region.
Climate Network Africa is a regional NGO and an active participant in some of the above mentioned treaties and agreements, hence its active involvement in awareness creation on energy demand for present and future and the implications of this demand.
The workshop came up with a series of recommendations which if implemented could go a long way in meeting the energy demand in the East African region. Some of the recommendations are very important for East African policy makers.