21 of May 2018

East African Community plan to phase out import duties on solar panels

The East African Community (EAC) member states are planning to phase out all import duties on solar panels in order to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.


The EAC Council of Ministers in Charge of Energy has already agreed to scrap levies on solar equipment and EAC Heads of States are expected to endorse the removal of all import tariffs for solar panels by the end of the year.


The EAC partner states, which include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan, none of them manufactures solar equipment and are therefore dependent on imports.


Therefore, with this measure, the region gives a strong sign that is committed to promote the use of renewable energy sources for both domestic and household needs so as to reduce emission of greenhouse gases.


The topic of import duties for renewable energy equipment is recurring in African Portuguese-speaking Countries and a barrier that needs to be overcome if we want the costs of renewable energy equipment to fall so that they can constitute a competitive alternative and effectively contribute to the implementation of the 7SDG of universal energy access by 2030.


For example in Mozambique this barrier has been adressed in DFID's report about the import taxes of renewable equipments in Mozambique, in ALER’s report “Renewables in Mozambique – National Status Report” or in the recent FEDESMO workshop about investments in small scale clean and renewable energy systems.


EAC will soon become the first region in Africa to phase out solar tariffs, a good example that ALER hopes to be followed by other communities to which lusophone countries belong, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), or by each country independently.


Source © Xinhua