The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) member states have heterogeneous economies and very diverse energy sectors. They are highly dependent on fossil fuels, with at least 81% of the primary energy being imported (petroleum and coal). The Comoros and Madagascar import 90% of their commercial energy in the form of fossil fuels. Mauritius depends to 52% on petroleum products for its energy supply, and this dependence is even higher for the Seychelles, at 95%. Supported by the French Government, Reunion Island has a policy of developing renewable energy, which has allowed them to achieve a high standard in this area. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to achieve complete energy self-sufficiency by 2030 through renewable energy.
This situation has a serious impact on the cost of energy (particularly electricity) in the region of the IOC, the balance of payments, the financial situation of the electricity companies, and the budgets of the states.
The use of fossil fuels has been recognised as one of the main causes of global warming whose impact is increasingly felt by the member countries of the IOC. Their economies are vulnerable to climate change and external shocks, such as the increase in the price of imported fuels which affects the economic, social and environmental development of the region.
One of the major issues for the IOC member states is the access to the energy needed to develop their economies, while still respecting and preserving the environment. The region has a large potential for renewable energy, including bio-fuels, and significant scope for improving energy efficiency. A regional approach is necessary, given the heterogeneous situation of the energy sector in the IOC’s member states.
A number of initiatives on renewable energy has already been implemented at different levels in the region. However, in some countries the sector is suffering from a lack of awareness about opportunities, a business environment which is not quite favourable, an inadequate regulatory framework, a lack of technical expertise, and low level and uncoordinated research efforts.
Cooperation at regional level constitutes a real added value, especially for the sharing of expertise and the development of tools for the exchange of know-how and technology. This approach could also serve as a marketing strategy to attract investment in a sector that has great potential for economic growth, employment and poverty reduction in the IOC region.
It is in this context that the IOC, with the support of the European Union, in the framework of the 10th EFD, is implementing, until June 2019, a programme for the promotion of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Comoros, France/Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles
Euro 15 million