Sub-Saharan Africa and its energy problems – OGP editorial
Two out of three people in Sub-Saharan Africa, that’s nearly 600 million people live today without access to electricity in the continent.
President Obama announced recently that private companies are providing an additional $12 billion in aid to the administration’s electrification program for Africa, while U.S. firms will invest more than $14 billion on the continent in sectors including banking, construction and information technology.
The new pledges — which came during a day-long program at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit focused on business opportunities, trade and development — reflect some of the most concrete outcomes of this week’s gathering of nearly 50 African heads of state and government in Washington.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said that his institution will commit $5 billion in direct financing, investment guarantees and advisory services to Power Africa, while the Swedish government is also contributing to the initiative. The U.S. government is adding $300 million a year to the initiative, which began as a $7 billion, five-year federal program in June 2013.
China has been Africa’s biggest trade partner since 2009. Bilateral trade stood at just under $11bn in 2000, by 2006 this figure had jumped to nearly $60bn and last year bilateral trade had soared to $210bn.
Chinese investment in African countries has also risen some thirty fold in the past ten years. Foreign direct investment went from $500mn in 2003 to almost $15bn by 2012. And last year, China pledged $20bn in loans for infrastructure development.
NIGERIA Ghana, Togo and Tanzania will benefit from the Dangote Group’s fresh investment capital, its President, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has said.
Speaking at the United States (U.S).-Africa Business Forum in Washington on Bloomberg Television’s “Market makers,” he said the money will be invested in power generation, distribution and transmission infrastructure, adding that the deficit between what is available and what is needed is “enormous”.
International Oil Companies have developed the Oil industries in the region and pumped billions into the economies.
With all the billions in oil revenue generated in Africa and the billions ‘invested’ over the years by international agencies and businesses
Oilandgaspress.com asks if Africa will ever rise up and exploit all these opportunities presented to it. They are not beign asked to re-invent the proverbial wheel. They are simply required to put a structure in place to enable them to use the vast resources in the continent to make the lives of the 600 million inhabitants better. The problem in our view is not monetary. The governments on the continent need to evolve and do the right thing. Electricity was not a problem when the British ruled Nigeria, Dams were built and a national electric company was established. This was the case also in African countries run by ‘colonial masters’. Africa is the only continent in the world that still has acute power problems. One would hope that the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit will spur the so called African Leaders to deal with this problem head on.