Energy has a profound bearing on economic and human development. Access to modern energy services plays a critical role in achieving meaningful sustainable development. As of 2007, more than 81% of the Eastern Africa’s population lives without access to modern energy services.
This demonstrates that the energy sector in the region is in general in its infancy with commercial energy contributing minimally to the total energy demand. The regional energy economy is characterised by a very low energy per capita consumption and a heavy reliance on primary biomass fuels. Current energy supply is inefficient, unreliable, and a cause of environmental degradation and disease. Traditional biomass (wood, charcoal, and animal waste) currently meets most of the region’s household cooking and heating needs.
Until lately policies have largely been missing and where they exist, their implementation has been dismally poor. Policy formulation and implementation is led largely by an energy department or ministry in each of the Eastern African countries. More often than not there are overlaps between departments and/or ministries leading to a situation of confusion or conflict. Commitment to the policy, planning and budgeting processes, best captured by country Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) which form the basis for the broad development agenda for poverty eradication are also lacking.
Promotion of harmonised policies, the development of institutional frameworks that integrate access to energy services as a key priority to foster human development and the development of energy investment programmes based on policy frameworks grounded on sustainable business models that focus on poverty reduction in rural and peri-urban areas, are required to achieve increased energy access.
For more information on energy policy in the East African countries, click on the respective link below:
GTZ (2007): Eastern Africa Resource Base: GTZ Online Regional Energy Resource Base: Regional and Country Specific Energy Resource Database: IV - Energy Policy.