The African Energy Commission (AFREC) is a specialized agency of the African Union, created at the 37th Summit of the OAU African Heads of States and Governments which was held in Lusaka, Zambia, on 11 July 2001 and was launched by the African Union Ministers in charge of Energy in the meeting held on 15 – 17 February 2008 in Algiers. AFREC was established with the broad objectives to lead the development of energy policies and programmes, create and continuously update the African Energy Statistics, mobilise technical and financial support for the Member States and implement capacity building programmes. As a specialised technical energy agency of the African Union, AFREC is under the Department for Infrastructure of Energy. The Department is led by Commissioner Dr Amani Abou-Zeid. Its highest-level decisions are made by the Specialised Technical Committee on Transport, Transcontinental and Inter-regional Infrastructure, Energy and Tourism (STC-TTIIET), which consist of energy ministers of all countries in Africa.
AFREC publishes energy statistics books and policy documents which includes: Key Africa Energy Statistics, Energy Efficiency for Residential Sector, Energy Balance and Energy Database in soft copy and hard copy and shared with all 55 African Member States, stakeholders and public for energy policy development and design of energy projects at national, regional or continental level.
AFREC continues to work with all AU Member States in support of their effort to collect, validate and build robust accurate energy balance and indicators. In 2021 specifically, AFREC provided capacity building to train 338 African energy statisticians as nominated by their government ministers responsible for energy. AFREC also trained 40 African Energy statisticians under the training of trainer’s programme and is currently supporting 11 Member States namely: Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Congo, Gabon, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Namibia, to establish or improve national energy information system and provide capacity building. to improve their national energy information system (NEIS).
On March 17, 2022, AFREC hosted a virtual ministerial high-level meeting in Algiers with the Ministers of Energy from the African Union Member States, to present the status of the African Energy Information System (AEIS), planned activities and challenges facing governments in relation to data collection, validation and processing at national and continental level. The meeting sought political guidance from the Ministers and their governments on how to support and to ensure National Energy Information System (NEIS) effectively functions to process national data, with the view to resolve energy data demand and disparity across the continent.
Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission said, ‘‘we have been striving to harmonise our energy data on the continent as well as ensure that we have a hosting environment for Africa’s energy data. These efforts have been reinforced and improved through the existing African Energy Information System (AEIS), which was revamped in 2020.
The revamp eliminates a lack of credible and quality energy data which is currently a big challenge on our continent. To continue enhancing data capacity through data collection and validation at national level, AFREC has trained about 400 National Focal points (NFPs), qualified 40 selected NFPs to be trainers of others, and continues to provide advisory support to all AU Member States who submits energy data’’.
Rashid Ali Abdallah, AFREC Executive Director underlined that though Member States face a lot of challenges in relation to data collection and processing at national level. Hence, constructive collaboration between stakeholders, especially private and public institutions and progressive national data policies can be some of the key actions which can be taken to improve the latter. Abdallah also appealed to all Member States to adopt the AEIS at national level, nominate more energy national focal points and continuously encourage national focal points to collect energy data. In addition, AFREC will also works towards expanding the project to establish National Determinant Contribution Support centre in other Member States, to strengthen climate change reporting and data modelling as its being done in Morocco, Uganda and Malawi.
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