Africa's critical energy infrastructure in the spotlight

Africa's critical energy infrastructure in the spotlight
Published: 06 September 2015 (2705 Views)

Most infrastructure investments on the continent are in the energy sector, but power plants and transmission lines across Africa, most of which were erected in the 1950s and 1960s, operate today at just a fraction of installed capacity due to insufficient maintenance and lack of modernisation.

Across the continent, infrastructure is either disrupted, damaged or non-existent.  However, investment in energy infrastructure is critical to the continent reaching its economic potential and exploiting its current growth trends.

Meeting the demands for Africa's critical energy infrastructure was in the spotlight at the annual Infrastructure Africa Business Forum, which concluded on Wednesday at the Sandton Convention Centre. According to the Africa Progress Panel (APP) in its recent "Power, People, Planet" report, Sub-Saharan African governments should be aiming to increase electricity generation capacity tenfold and achieve universal access to electricity by 2030. The International Energy Agency (IEA) recommends that Africa raise energy generation by 4% per year to 2040.

Sub-Saharan Africa has only 90GW of electricity generation capacity and energy constraints are costing the continent 2%-4% of GDP per year.  But some progress is evident. There are now 130 independent power providers in sub-Saharan Africa and about 27 private equity investments were made in energy between 2010 and 2013, valued at $1,2bn. This boost is partly due to President Barack Obama's Power Africa initiative, increased energy cooperation between Europe and Africa, Chinese project finance for large-scale power projects, and South Africa's renewable energy programme.

"Energy infrastructure changes the economy, it adds from a jobs and employment perspective. It's a key enabler and the rest follows. Good infrastructure also makes us more competitive at a global level. Energy infrastructure needs to lead rather than lag," said Kribs Govender, vice president for business development for power & new energy at Sasol.

According to Romain Py, head of transactions at African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), "Africa's lack of infrastructure development comes down to policy failures and the stability of the regulatory environment. No one will invest without clear policy environment. We are talking long-term investments of large amounts of money. If we as investors feel the policy is unclear or not sustainable, we will not invest."

Ian Curry from Basil Read Energy, an IPP with projects in South Africa and projects in development in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia said, "We need to meet the needs of energy in Africa from an African perspective. The challenges that Africa has from primary resources through to consumers must be solved by Africans and on a regional basis. This historical nationalistic focus we have in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa is not healthy and we must think beyond our borders, not just as South Africans, or Zimbabweans, but as Africans."

"From a policy and consumer level and from a planning perspective, three things need to be looked at with regards to energy infrastructure, namely 1) security of energy supply, secondly: how affordable your energy source is and lastly what is the impact of your energy source on local environment and sustainability?  Keeping these three in balance is important in policy considerations", says Shaun Nel, director at the Energy Intensive Users Group (EIUG).

In conclusion, Mr Curry added that, "We need to align ourselves regionally. Regional integration needs to be looked at right down to the consumer level, but national pride often stands in the way. But our wealth and economic prospects lie within the region."

Regional integration will come under the spotlight and will further be explored at the 2016 Africa Energy Indaba, the sister event to the Infrastructure Africa conference and taking place in Johannesburg at 16 – 17 February 2016.   The annual African Energy Ministers Roundtable to be hosted at the Indaba will lead with this key issue and will include the financing of Africa's criticial energy infrastructure supported by skills development in Africa.

- Siyeza

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Zanu-PF Posters: Has Mnangagwa influenced sleeping ideas?

by Staff Reporter | 24 April 2018 | 101 Views

Wounded soldier gets world's first penis transplant

by Reuters | 24 April 2018 | 75 Views

ZANU-PF casts death on sickness than finding permanent solution

by Andrew M Manyevere | 24 April 2018 | 61 Views

6 bodies retrieved from mine shaft

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 59 Views

'Mohadi under ICU in SA,' says Jonathan Moyo

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 166 Views

Woman uses juju to seduce men

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 108 Views

'Jonathan Moyo congratulates Khupe'

by Staff Reporter | 24 April 2018 | 172 Views

Sibusiso Moyo backtracks on allowing diaspora vote

by Bloomberg | 24 April 2018 | 108 Views

Baby drowns while mother has sex with boyfriend

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 126 Views

BREAKING: Undenge trial fails to kick off

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 69 Views

The political middle finger we love - good read

by Bhekumusa Moyo | 24 April 2018 | 101 Views

Chamisa loses to Khupe

by Staff reporeter | 24 April 2018 | 125 Views

Go for low cost housing projects, China urges Zimbabwe

by Staff Reporter | 24 April 2018 | 81 Views

Tuku and Mukanya were never enemies

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 91 Views

'I had unprotected sex with Eriza'

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 111 Views

Zanu-PF candidates told to shun dirty politics

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 62 Views

Man bashes cheating sugar mummy

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 74 Views

G40 cabal sings the blues

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 87 Views

South Africa is the 33rd wealthiest country in the world

by Agencies | 24 April 2018 | 77 Views

'Chamisa attacking The Elderly'

by Douglas Shoko | 24 April 2018 | 167 Views

WARNING: 4 Boer goats stolen, Reward offered

by Staff Reporter | 24 April 2018 | 100 Views

Zim civil society did not want Mugabe out, they fear for their jobs

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 127 Views

WATCH: Zanu-PF exhibiting at ZITF

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 102 Views

Zanu-PF rolls out food programme

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 69 Views

Road to Victory - Nelson Chamisa on Tuesday

by Adv Nelson Chamisa | 24 April 2018 | 144 Views

MDC-T property auctioned

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 101 Views

Man attacked for 'outstanding sex worker bill'

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 93 Views

Chiwenga 'posing a security threat' in Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 80 Views

MDC Alliance outlines sweeping economic reforms

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 88 Views

Mnangagwa's nephew barred from Zanu-PF primaries

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 53 Views

MDC-T President Khupe lash out at cowards

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 84 Views

Zanu-PF campaign mood heats up

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 128 Views

High Court hears Zimbabwe Nurses' challenge of purported dismissal

by Stephen Jakes | 24 April 2018 | 67 Views

Econet under fire over business deal

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 180 Views

'Why EDiots say EDenezer'

by Staffr eporter | 24 April 2018 | 207 Views

Lloyd Mutasa hangs on

by Staff reporter | 24 April 2018 | 149 Views