5th AFUR conference

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From April 26th to the 30th AFUR will hold its annual conference and related events in Accra Ghana at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.

The first event on the programme of activities is a seminar organised by the Water and Sanitation Sectoral Committee of AFUR, this seminar is geared towards celebrating the United Nations International Year of Sanitation. The Executive Committee of AFUR will hold a special meeting on the 27th. The 28th and 29th of April is scheduled for the highly regarded AFUR Annual Conference which will be held for the fifth time since the launch of AFUR on 22 November 2002 in Pretoria South Africa. The theme of the 5th Annual Conference is: Regulatory non-discrimination, Promotion of Competition and the Protection of Investors. The last day of the Accra events will bring together the highest decision making body of AFUR; the General Assembly, and its twenty-five (25) members will meet on the 30th of April to deliberate on pertinent issues that will be geared towards the continuous development of AFUR.

As was the case with the themes for the First, Second, Third and Fourth Conferences, this Conference addresses the last issue in the AFUR high-level set of principles contained in the adopted AFUR Framework for Utility Regulation in Africa. Participants will discuss in the conference sessions issues relating to the principles of regulatory non-discrimination and the promotion of competition within the prevailing regulatory frameworks as implemented in practice on the continent and internationally. Overall the conference is intended to enable regulators to share experiences on the practical impact and relevance that the protection of investors has on regulatory decision-making. During the interactive discussions participants will be encouraged to share positive feed-back, as well as report on perceived barriers to effective functioning of the regulatory process in their respective countries.

The conference will go beyond re-stating AFUR high-level set of regulatory principles, as these are relatively well known. Hence the focus of the 5th Conference will be more on the experience of implementation of regulatory decisions and the practise of regulation on the ground. Practical problems in specific circumstances will be presented and hands-on solutions discussed extensively by participants’ who will be adequately guided by the conference speakers. Conference participants will also examine ways in which the performance of regulatory frameworks with regard to non-discrimination, the promotion of competition, and the protection of investors against physical and regulatory expropriation could be strengthened, for example through the principle of proportionality, rules and contracts that provide greater specificity and more predictability against physical and regulatory expropriation.

The events will be hosted by the Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) of Ghana, jointly with the Energy Commission and the National Communications Authority (NCA), all of Ghana.

It is envisaged that over 200 delegates from around the world including utility regulators, senior government officials, and the private sector, suppliers of energy, communications, water and sanitation equipment, as well as representatives from international development and finance institutions, investors and utility service providers will attend the conference.

The event offers a unique opportunity for regulators, investors and operators throughout Africa and around the world to engage on regulatory issues of common interest. AFUR prides itself in extending the 50 year celebration of Ghana’s independence by one more year and welcomes you all to Accra Ghana in April 2008, Akwaaba!