25 September 2013, Rabat — The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is hosting an expert group meeting to discuss a regional policy framework for the development of renewable energy in North Africa. The, taking place in Rabat, Morcco, was billed to commence Tuesday, ending today (Wednesday).
To reduce their dependency on fossil fuels and meet the growing demand for energy, especially electricity, the countries of the sub region have undertaken important reforms of their energy policies to promote energy efficiency, diversify the energy mix and exploit their renewable energy potential. Major projects are being implemented and others are planned.
However, in order to achieve the ambitious strategic goals for the development of renewable energy and industrial integration that the North African countries have set, significant funding is required.
Funding together with appropriate technology solutions and know how can only be mobilised as part of a broader cooperation framework, promoting the creation of an integrated and competitive regional energy market.
The Maghreb countries are already collaborating through the work of COMELEC to harmonise their regulatory frameworks and promote the creation of a Maghreb electricity market. Joint projects, particularly in the field of electricity have been undertaken.
The Council of Ministers of Energy and Mines AMU stressed the importance of unifying efforts to promote complementarities, strengthen the partnerships between countries and the dialogue between the Northern partners’ initiatives (Rabat, November 2010).
To support the ongoing efforts and leverage opportunities for cooperation and integration in the sector, ECA launched a consultation for the development of a regional policy document for the development of renewable energies.
This document will provide a common vision and propose strategic priorities and objectives for cooperation, to better meet the major challenges of the sector (diversification of funding sources, based on innovative investments, partnerships, promoting industrial cooperation and technological transfer, development of an environment of- and appropriate regulation mechanisms and facilitation of trade and investment, etc).
The experts’ group meeting will discuss the regional policy document and is expected to highlight the benefits for countries in developing a common approach and to identify the main determinants. In particular, panelists will discuss prerequisites for the integration of electricity markets and the adoption of measures to remove barriers to trade and finance and strengthening industrial cooperation.
The meeting will also propose an approach and operational mechanisms to promote ownership by national and regional actors for the regional policy document and its implementation.