In a statement last week, Dar es Salaam confirmed it would be scaling down its power imports from Kenya, but did not go into the details of why it would do so. Data from the Ministry of Energy already shows that between January and March this year, Kenya exported 170,000 kilowatt-hours less to Tanzania.
Kenya and Tanzania have a power exchange agreement at their border towns. “Kenya and Tanzania have a cross-border electrification arrangement in which Tanzania sells power to towns at the Kenyan border that are not connected to the national grid through Lunga Lunga. Kenya, on the other hand, sells power to Tanzania through Namanga.
It is a small power trade and varies since there is no transmission line connecting the two countries,” the director of electricity at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), Joseph Oketch, said. The data, however, shows Kenya ceased importing power from Tanzania last year, following the successful completion of electricity-generating programmes the Government is working on.
Tanzania, too, did not buy any power from Kenya between February and March, which is when it started constructing a 240-megawatt natural gas-fired power plant in Kinyerezi that is likely to be commissioned in early 2018.
Kenya has been slowly losing market share for its products in Tanzania. The Economic Survey 2016, for instance, shows exports to Tanzania last year dropped 27 per cent, from a high of Sh46 billion in 2012 to Sh33.6 billion last year. And in the first three months of this year, the Energy ministry reports, Tanzania’s President John Pombe Magufuli has purchased goods worth Sh5.2 billion, down from Sh5.8 million over a similar period last year and Sh10 billion in 2012.