African Union Launches World’s Largest Single Electricity Market

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union officially launched the African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM), the world’s largest continent-wide energy trading program.

The program plans to interconnect all 55 African Union Member States through an efficient, affordable, and sustainable electricity market.

The launching took place last week, on June 3, in a virtual event attended by AU commission officials and dignitaries from member states.

Dr. Monique Nsanzabaganwa, Deputy Chairperson of the AUC, said the launch marks an important milestone reached after a long, challenging, and crucial journey that started in 2015.

According to AU, AfSEM is one of those targeted interventions aimed to facilitate sustainable development of the African electricity sector through the integrated continental electricity market based on the 2019 AfCFTA Agreement.

The goal is to give African households, businesses, and industries more secure, sustainable, reliable, competitive, and affordable energy, it said.



Dr. Monique called on the AU Member States to integrate AfSEM into their national development plans for a higher rate of success in its implementation and operationalization.

“It is important that the AU Member States take ownership in the development and implementation of these continental initiatives,” the deputy chair said.

It is also “necessary to ensure access to reliable energy services, as well as providing the necessary policy and financial instruments for one Continental Electricity market, and One continental interconnection grid at all levels,” she added.

The implementation of the AfSEM will be supported by a Continental Power System Masterplan currently being developed by the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD).

The plan aims to harmonize regulatory frameworks across various regions.

The European Union also supported the preparation of the AfSEM policy paper, roadmap and governing structure.
According to AU, the implementation of AfSEM will immediately begin after the launching ceremony with the first phase of AfSEM envisaged to be achieved by 2023, reaching full operationalization by 2040.

It will, then, be the largest single electricity market in the world covering 55-member states serving a population of over 1.3 billion.

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