East Africa - EAC Seeks German technology for new energy solutions

Efforts to alleviate crippling power crisis in Uganda and Tanzania

The East African Community is wooing Germany technology and investment for the energy sector in the region as it strives to alleviate a crippling power crisis that has hit Uganda and Tanzania. The idea is to have European companies invest in renewable sources of energy, increasing power supply of power in an environmentally friendly way by implementing clean power plants.

Last month, Rwanda's Energy and Communications Minister, Albert Butare, led a delegation of 70 government officials, company executives, technology experts and other decision-makers from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi to a conference on energy in Frankfurt, Germany.

Jointly organised by the East African Business Council and Afrika Verein (a German business association), the conference - Invest in Renewable Energies East Africa - aimed at raising awareness of the needs and investment opportunities in East Africa, with the objective of forging business partnerships. It is still not clear whether the EAC delegation clinched any deal, but a preliminary report indicates that discussions will be going on between the financiers and the investors/companies.

A number of German organisations will soon be visiting East Africa for a follow-up conference aimed at "deepening of contacts" in renewable energies. Representatives from European financing institutions including KFW, DZ and European and Arab banks, who also attended the meeting, showed their willingness to finance small-scale power projects in the region. But the greatest achievement was the resolution that a Renewable Energy Association be formed to initiate new projects.

Among other things, the association will promote foreign direct investments and joint ventures, lobby for reforms in the regulatory regimes on renewable energies, and promote information exchange on replicable projects in the energy sector. More than 40 East African companies undertaking renewable energy projects gave presentations on their profiles and presented proposals for projects that German companies could invest in.

The region, especially Uganda, has been suffering from unprecedented power shortages, with the loadshedding affecting business. This is despite the fact that the region has great untapped potential for producing renewable energy such as solar, biomass, hydro, wind and geothermal. According to pundits, transfer of modern technologies from Germany into the energy sector will be a win-win situation for both East African businesses and high-tech companies in Germany or Europe.
Online editorial www.windfair.net
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, wind farm, renewable energy, wind power, wind turbine, rotorblade, offshore, onshore

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