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The fast-growing development of the energy mix in Africa calls for an upgrade of the existing energy database. This was highlighted during the digital dialogue Building a Harmonised and Centralised Energy Database Through the Africa Energy Information System (AEIS), hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) during the Digital Energy festival.

Moderated by Maximillian Jarret, the Africa Programme Manager at the International Energy Agency (IEA) – the digital dialogue was streamed live on Wednesday, 21 October, as part of the six-week Digital Energy Festival for Africa.

The discussion brought together a strong representation of energy stakeholders:

  • Kevin Kanina Kariuki, AfDB Vice-President for power, energy, climate and green growth;
  • Amani Abou-Zeid, commissioner for infrastructure and energy at African Union Commission;
  • Rashid Abdullah, director at African Energy Commission (AFREC); and
  • Roberta Quadrelli, head of section, energy data centre at IEA.

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The dialogue was concentrated on the necessity of improving the existing energy database in order to better appreciate the energy needs of African nations.

AEIS was created in 2012 by the African Energy Commission (AFREC) in collaboration with the energy ministers across the continent to collect the energy data of their countries.

“What cannot be measured, cannot be improved,” noted Kariuki. He further pointed out that AEIS is key to the energy sector in Africa.

Sharing Kariuki’s sentiments around the upgrading of the data system, Abou-Zeid said AEIS needs to be in line with artificial intelligence and on par with international standards. However, she said the key will be the implementation. “Digitalisation will have a huge implication going forward,” Abou-Zeid added.

Harmonised energy database

Appreciating the need to modernise the data system, Abdullah pointed out that AEIS serves as the platform to “tell people the real story of Africa”. He further stressed that data is critical for investments and policy framework. Abdullah also recognised that harmonisation and centralisation of energy database will open room for collaborations.

The IEA welcomes the ambition to modernise and expand AEIS, said Quadrelli, adding that the move will reduce duplication and benefit both IEA and AFREC. She further noted the following benefits:

  • A stronger AEIS will raise the profile of energy statistics across Africa, with benefits for the countries themselves, as well as for the IEA and the global community of energy data producers and data users.
  • IEA and global energy statistics network (interEnerStat) will benefit from AFREC’s convening power and knowledge on national energy information systems.
  • AEIS will depend upon countries reinforcing their capacity to collect all the data needed – a progress beneficial to all data users.

Annual Africa Energy Database

AFREC publishes an annual Africa Energy Database which contains the energy balance for all African countries. The Commission is currently working on the 2019 version. AFREC has two focal points in each African country nominated by ministers in charge of energy: energy statistics and energy efficiency.

AFREC says the 2019 African Energy Statistics will expand the coverage to include the following: CO2 emission, energy prices and taxes data.