DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) — The Southern African Development Community (SADC) said on Tuesday it has established a centre for renewable energy to coordinate and support rural electrification within 16 member states of the regional bloc.
Kudakwashe Ndhlukula, the executive director of the SADC centre for renewable energy, based in Namibia, told a meeting of the SADC energy sub-committee meeting held in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam that the centre will also offer technological support on how to address low supply caused by lack of proper planning.
“Despite abundant renewable energy sources within SADC member states, the region has one of the world’s lowest rural electricity supply rates at five percent,” Ndhlukula said.
He said the centre was a result of the SADC renewable energy strategic plan adopted in 2017 to address limited energy supply which has been a stumbling block to the region’s growth for years.
Zena Saidi, Tanzania’s permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy, said despite of enormous potential of energy resources, the region still faced significant challenges in energy supply towards meeting ever increasingly demand due to economic and population growth.
She said, “While the demand is expected to grow, it is sad to note that only 5 percent of the rural people in the region have access to electricity.”
Saidi said this indicated that there was still energy poverty across the region which continued to hold back economic development.
She added that limited supply of energy was a major challenge and an obstacle in driving the economy of the SADC region for industrialization agenda, which was currently being championed by most of the SADC member states in their quest for economic emancipation.