Nile Basin energy ministers advance regional power trade

The energy ministers of Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) countries resolved September 25 to advance NBI's Regional Power Trade Project toward preparation of a basin-wide power development study.

Ministers responsible for electricity affairs of the Nile Basin countries -- Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda -- convened for the Nile Basin Energy Ministers Conference at Dar es Salaam. Under a theme of Enhancing Cooperation toward Regional Power Trade, the ministers reviewed the progress of the World Bank-funded Regional Power Trade Project. (HNN 4/18/07)

Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda called for a concerted basin-wide effort to harness and utilize the basin's abundant resources for joint use.

�Our efforts are predominantly oriented to national planning and development priorities,� Pinda said. �This approach does not give us the economic and social benefits of collective action.�

The prime minister said collective action would minimize costs and result in effective utilization of limited expertise available in the region.

�Direct benefits of cooperation in the power sector will further lower the investment costs, create new and additional investment opportunities, and increase reliability and security of supply of the cooperating countries,� Pinda said.

The ministers resolved that the power trade project should proceed to a second phase in order to undertake a comprehensive basin-wide study. It is to facilitate optimal utilization of Nile water resources for power development. Ministers also resolved to continue to provide key capacity building activities, considered a vital component to support infrastructure development and regional power trade. (HNN 11/30/07)

Executive Director Henriette Ndombe of the Nile Basin Secretariat noted the Regional Power Trade Project was conceived by NBI countries in recognition of the important role that regional power infrastructure and power trade can play in socio-economic development and poverty reduction in the region. She added it was important for NBI member countries to conclude, as soon as possible, a framework agreement to transform the NBI into a permanent Nile Basin Institution.

The NBI said the ministers' conference was timely as a number of regional transmission interconnection projects are under way. (HNN 1/3/08)

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