Gaborone – The Southern African region has commissioned additional power generation projects of 19,738 Megawatts (MW) in the past seven years, inching closer to the self-sustenance target.
This was said by out- going SADC region’s executive secretary Dr. Lawrence Tax. She said the increase in energy generation translates to 90% of the targeted capacity of 22,000 MW within the period.
She also revealed that access to electricity at weighted average in the region increased from 36% in 2014/2015 to more than 50% in 2020/2021.
“The target is to reach at least 85% by 2030 in line with the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2020-2030. The share of renewable energy also increased from 22% in 2015/2016 to 32% in 2019/2020,” she said.
Dr. Tax said energy traded through bilateral agreements also increased from 4,761 Gigawatt-hours (GWh) in 2014/15 to 7,992 GWh in 2018/2019, and dropped slightly to 5,642 GWh in 2020/2021.
She said the share of the monthly volumes traded through competitive Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) market also increased from 10% in 2014/2015, to the highest level of 33% recorded in 2019/2020.
“Sadly, the traded volumes have been affected by decreasing demand since March 2020, as a result of COVID-19,” she said.
The outgoing SADC boss said progress has also been significant in the SADC Mobile Penetration.
She said the region is now one of the most connected.
“All SADC Member States have established at least two (2) cross-border terrestrial optical fiber links for regional and international transit traffic, and the SADC Mobile Penetration has increased from 60% in 2012, and currently stands at 77.4%, with five (5) Member States exceeding 100% mobile penetration. The SADC Internet User Penetration has also increased from 4% in 2012 to 22.9% in 2020, “she said.
According to Dr. Tax the SADC average population coverage by a mobile network is 88%, whereas the SADC average population coverage by at least 3G Mobile is 80%, and 54% for a 4G Mobile Network.
“The SADC region accounts for 57% share of the 46 Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) in Africa. These milestones are also contributing to our digitization efforts,” she said.
She also reiterated that progress has been recorded in financial integration and inclusion.
Although many challenges are still in this aspect Dr. Tax said the SADC Real Time Gross Settlement System (SADC-RTGS) has lowered transaction costs as it has removed the need for correspondent bank.
“As of June 2021, a total of 83 participating Banks, from fifteen SADC Member States (except Comoros), were electronically linked, to effect cross-border payments and settlements in real time. From July 2013 to June 2021, total number of transactions settled reached 591.38 billion USD, “she said.