Somaliland Poised to Pass First-Ever Energy Law in 2013

February 08, 2013

Somaliland has its first-ever draft of an electrical energy law, a major step toward increased legitimacy for the autonomous region of Somalia.

With guidance from the Partnership for Economic Growth, the Somaliland Ministry of Mining, Energy and Water Resources and nearly 100 Somalis from independent power providers, consumer groups, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and government agencies recently came together to review the first draft of the law and regulations.

The Partnership is led by DAI and funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). USAID’s first economic development project in Somalia in 20 years, the Partnership is working with a broad range of government authorities and private sector actors to strengthen weak links and to improve investment opportunities in agriculture and livestock, improve access to business development services, develop regulatory policies to improve business opportunities and ultimately, attract more investment and generate employment.

Work on the draft energy law started nearly two years ago with public-private dialogues held to tackle a myriad of barriers in Somaliland: a lack of infrastructure, a dearth of qualified technicians, the high cost of electricity production, an under-developed legal framework, and how to move forward through new Somali-led legislation.

The draft law and regulations are expected to establish the right conditions for growth in the energy sector, with a focus on expanding reliable, efficient and affordable electricity services, powered by both conventional and alternative sources that would help promote investment in the Somaliland economy.

Both Somali and international legal and energy experts helped develop the law, ensuring that it reflects local aspirations and is consistent with international best practices.

Some solutions proposed by participants included: setting up electrical and engineering faculties in select universities; creating bodies to regulate competence and ensure that there are enough qualified technicians and engineers; refurbishing power generation plants to ensure maximum utility; and creating a body to ensure the implementation of the law.

The Electrical Energy Act is expected to become law this year. The President of Somaliland, Ahmed Silanyo, recently praised the energy efforts in his 2013 State of the Union address, saying, “My government will submit an Energy Legislation to this honorable Chamber. This will be the first of its kind in the country. We have a policy to encourage and implement some renewable energy projects this year. We are implementing five wind energy facilities in Hargeysa Airport to meet the electricity needs of the airport and we are also establishing four additional wind energy facilities in Las Anod. These projects will create jobs for our people.”

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