SADC Validation Workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa.

NIRAS outlines new ways and methodologies to help SADC Member States improve access to modern energy services for their citizens

Review successfully delivered on the Regional Energy Access Strategy and Action Plan, which aims to achieve universal Tier 3 energy access - aligned with SDG 7 - by 2030

23. Dec 2019

Participating in the SADC Validation Workshop in Johannesburg on 6-8 November, NIRAS presented its successful review of the Regional Energy Access Strategy and Action Plan (REASAP), which the SADC Secretariat developed in 2010 with support from the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility. The review outlined achievements of the strategy and the action plan and recommended measures to accelerate energy access.

The revised REASAP will include new ways and methodologies to help 16 Member States achieve the objective of increasing and improving access to modern energy services that will enable economic development, regional integration, and contribute to poverty alleviation.

Over 50 delegates from 14 SADC Member States attended the event. The representative of the EU Delegation to Botswana and SADC, Ms. Mercedes Marin Nortes, officiated the session on the review of REASAP where NIRAS presented its final report.

In order to provide a thorough revision on the REASAP, the NIRAS team led by Jennifer Tracy and in-house expert Annegrete Lausten conducted field visits to 8 of the 16 SADC Member States that served as primary means of gathering the information on the present situation. Targeted surveys were administered in those countries not visited in person.

The revised REASAP is aligned with the target of  Sustainable Development Goal number 7.1: ‘‘By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services’’. The SADC Secretariat and Member States further agreed on the Tier 3 level of access, redefined by World Bank/Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme Multi-tier Framework (MTF) as "the ability to avail energy that is adequate, available when needed, reliable, of good quality, convenient, affordable, legal, healthy and safe for all required energy services”. SADC has committed to specify MTF Tier 3 (light and small productive purposes) as the universal access level to be reached by 2030, to be achieved with estimated cost US$256.3 billion.

Progress but barriers remain

Seychelles and Mauritius have already reached this universal access to electricity. Other Member States, including Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia have significantly increased access to electricity, while some countries will require rapid and targeted actions to speed up the rate of access in order to reach universal - Tier 3 level - electricity access by 2030.

Several challenges face countries in their efforts to reach this Tier 3 level goal including lack of finance, end users poor ability to pay, aninsufficient enabling environment for private sector involvement, and generation capacity restraints due to poorly maintained or outdated infrastructure.

The revised action plan will serve as mitigation advice and strategy to these challenges that should ensure steadfast progress toward achieving universal energy access in the next ten years and further facilitate the investments and knowledge sharing based on this commonly agreed framework.