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Better supervision for EU-funded energy projects in East Africa

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Tuesday, 08 December 2015

Better supervision for EU-funded energy projects in East Africa

A €100m programme to help bring renewable energy to poor people in East Africa achieved some notable successes but still needs better supervision, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. The auditors found that the European Commission had made some good selections among the projects proposed, but failed to monitor progress closely enough. Between 2006 and 2013, the ACP–EU Energy Facility was allocated €475 million of European Development Funds, mostly for grants to projects in sub-Saharan Africa. The main objective was to promote access to modern energy for poor people in rural areas and on the outskirts of towns, where energy for cooking remains largely based on firewood or charcoal. It also aimed improve governance in the energy sector, encourage investment in cross‑border energy projects and promote renewable energy. By mid-2014, a total of €268m had been granted, €106m for projects in East Africa, which had by far the lowest rate of access to electricity in the region. Around 85 % of the projects selected were related to renewable energy, 12 % to hybrid sources (renewable and fossil) and 3 % to fossil. The auditors examined 16 renewable energy projects in five countries: Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. They found that the Commission was mostly successful and allocated support to well‑prioritised projects. For example, a project in Kenya to recover methane from slurry on small farms installed 765 biogas digesters compared with a target of 460. Recovering biogas for cooking fuel saves firewood, reduces indoor pollution and improves the fertilising qualities of the slurry.

Source: European Court of Auditors