AUDA-NEPAD joined hands with UMA (Union Arab Maghreb) and COMELEC (Magreb Electricity Committee) and organised a workshop for the UMA Countries and Egypt on the introduction of competitive electricity market to the North Africa Region. This is in order to efficiently utilise the enormous energy resources available in North Africa and to enable each country to source electricity on the most competitive prices.

Most of the electricity trade in the North Africa Region is done on a bilateral basis which tie the countries involved on long term sale agreements (years ahead), and denies the countries from utilising the opportunities available in securing electricity on short terms at competitive prices.

A mission headed by Prof Mosad Elmissiry, Senior Advisor at AUDA-NEPAD, was undertaken in Algeria, 9 to 11 September 2019. It was organised with the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) which is the only power pool in Africa that allows electricity trade on an auction basis on one month ahead, one week ahead, one day ahead and even hours ahead, to transfer the knowledge and experiences gained by SAPP to the North Africa Region in the development and implementation of a competitive electricity market in UMA and Egypt.

SAPP covered the stages that the development of a competitive electricity market has to go through, the requirements on hardware and software that needs to be addressed, the intergovernmental and utilities MoUs that need to be signed, the trade rules and sales clearance arrangements and the challenges faced in the introduction of the competitive electricity market. The enormous benefits gained from the introduction of the regional electricity market were highlighted.

North Africa is one the continent’s regions that have the highest electricity access rate, that exceeds 98% and is already connected with Europe, Asia and currently being connected to the Gulf States. It is the gate of Africa to the rest of the world when it comes to electricity trade.

Prof Elmissiry says that with the enormous renewable energy resources that are available in Africa, the African continent has a good chance to export the excess in clean power to Europe and earn substantial income needed for its economic development.

“Africa needs to strategise and plan ahead when oil resources are longer available,” Prof Elmissiry said. He added that with the introduction of the competitive electricity market in North Africa and the current work going ahead with regards the connection between the Eastern Power Pool and SAPP, soon almost half of the countries in Africa will be connected together. They will be able to trade electricity among themselves and beyond, on a competitive basis.

“This is a strong achievement for which Africa should take pride in,” Prof Elmissiry declared.

The engagement in Algeria ended with identifying the challenges that are facing the introduction of the electricity competitive market in the North Africa region and drafting of a road map for solutions.

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