Friday, 17 June 2016

There Is an Immediate Solution to Sub-Saharan Africa’s Power Challenges

There Is an Immediate Solution to Sub-Saharan Africa’s Power ChallengesAccess to reliable electricity is essential to human development and to a country’s sustainable economic progress. Today, having electricity is vital in providing basic social services to people, conducting business and running industrial operations. Unfortunately, billions of people around the world still do not have access to reliable electricity, with a great number of them living in the rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa.

In its publication World Energy Outlook 2015, the International Energy Agency (IEA) reveals that there are approximately 634 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa without access to electricity, and that the average national electrification rate in the region only stands at 32%.

It also reports that although electrification efforts are underway in Sub-Saharan Africa, electrification in urban areas has widely outpaced that in rural areas since 2000. In fact, the latest figures show that the average urban electrification rate in Sub-Saharan Africa stands at 59%, while that of rural, in contrast, stands at only 17%.

By virtue of the above observations, IEA says that Sub-Saharan Africa has now become the “most electricity poor region” in terms of the total number of people and the share of its overall population.

In a separate release, the World Bank ascribes the region’s energy poverty to various factors, including low access and insufficient capacity, and poor reliability. It notes that the electrification rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is lesser than other low-income countries, and that the entire installed generation capacity in the region (excluding South Africa) is only 28 GW, comparable to that of Argentina.

It further observes that due to poor reliability of the region’s existing power infrastructure, Sub-Saharan Africa's residents and industries experience power outages equivalent to 56 days per year. As a result, it adds, businesses and industries lose anywhere between 6% and 20% of sales revenues.

It, then, sounds a warning that the shortcomings in the region’s power sector are a real threat to Sub-Saharan Africa’s long-term economic growth and competitiveness.

Electrification Efforts are underway
Today, driving the growth of Africa’s energy sector takes the spotlight at various industry conferences and engagement events all around the world, such as the 2016 Africa Energy Forum, which will transpire in late July. These gatherings provide a venue for a notable number of industry stakeholders, including government officials and head of relevant ministries, regulatory authorities, power providers like Altaaqa Global Cat Rental Power, financial institutions and investors, to talk about salient energy issues and cast a forward-looking gaze at opportunities for the betterment of the sector. Read more....


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