Monday, March 23, 2015

Africa’s power sector offers ‘potentially attractive opportunities’

Using per-capita data, a US citizen on average uses 12,461 kilowatt hours of electricity per annum; a citizen of Ethiopia uses 52. On average, only 30% of Sub-Saharan Africa citizens have any access to electric power, and even where power is available, provision can be sporadic, with frequent power cuts and “brown-outs”.   A US government-sponsored initiative, Power Africa, is looking to provide financing and expertise to encourage investment links between businesses and African governments to develop smaller-scale, technologically innovative generation projects. The projects are slanted toward renewable energy solutions that utilise Africa’s abundant resources of solar, wind and geothermal power, but are not neglecting the growing potential of natural gas as the number of hydrocarbon discoveries across Africa multiplies. The Power Africa initiative has been ongoing for a little over a year, but additional funding announced at the US-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014 has increased the potential budget for the operation to US$26bn in direct financing and investment guarantees. The China-supported dam building efforts, supplemented by other major projects, including proposed nuclear plants in South Africa and a major coal-fired power station in Zimbabwe, could potentially make a huge difference to Africa’s generating capacity. Read more at