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2019 eceee Summer Study - Boosting African regional markets of highly efficient appliances through effective energy efficiency and trade policy

Policymakers in Africa are evaluating opportunities to improve the availability of affordable high efficiency products on their markets by implementing energy efficiency policy. In the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), 6 of 15 member states are currently enhancing or implementing for the first time standards and labeling programs for major appliances. Under the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), some regional standards have been developed and agreed on by all member states. The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is working on enhancing sustainable regional energy markets through the implementation of standards for widely traded appliances.

On the other hand, 44 members of the African Union established the framework for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). As part of the agreement, countries have committed to remove tariffs on 90% of goods. Such tariff reductions on intra-regional trade, along with regional standards harmonization, have led other markets to be dominated by products manufactured and traded within their regional borders. The intra-regional trade of room air conditioners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a good example: a regional harmonization framework for room air conditioner standards and a Common Effective Preferential Tariff among ASEAN members resulted in ASEAN countries importing 68% of all room air conditioners from other ASEAN countries.

What if coupling proven energy efficiency policy tools with effective trade policy could reshape the regional market of highly efficient appliances in Africa? This paper evaluates the opportunity to boost the effects of regionally harmonized standards within the AfCFTA, by improving efficiency of appliances while enhancing intra-regional trade.

This paper was originally published in the eceee 2019 Summer Study proceedings: Is efficient sufficient?

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