Energy shortage hits SAARC countries except Sri Lanka
All countries in the SAARC region except Sri Lanka suffer from
massive energy shortages which hamper their drive towards reaching
economic development goals. One-third of the global population without
access to electricity supply are from South Asia which is the poorest
region in the world, World Bank Chief Economist for South Asia Kalpana
Kochhar said last week.
Joining a SAARC journalism workshop in Kathmandu via video conference
from Washington DC, Kochhar described the region as energy starved and
the only regional bloc in the world which has no energy sharing
“Sri Lanka where 80 percent of the population has access to the
national grid is the only country in the region which doesn’t suffer
from energy shortages.
All other countries suffer from a massive demand and supply gap in
the energy sector and experience daily power cuts in varying degrees,”
The population that remains without electricity in the SAARC region,
where the rate of electrification is only 68.5 percent, is 493 million.
Sixty percent of Indian companies rely on private electricity
generation methods while industrial load shedding in Pakistan has
resulted in the loss of 400,000 jobs. Power shortages have resulted in
losses to the GDP in Bangladesh while the load shedding amounts to 16
per day in Nepal (expected to increase to 19 hours per day).
However, a renewed interest is being shown in the region with regard
to hydro power generation with new projects being earmarked in Nepal and
Bhutan. The World Bank is also working on boosting the power generation
in the region, Kochhar said.
The journalism workshop on Regional Cooperation in South Asia was
organised by the World Bank and the Thomson Reuters Foundation and was
held over three days. Journalists representing media organisations from
Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan