Africa's critical energy infrastructure in the spotlight

Africa's critical energy infrastructure in the spotlight
Published: 06 September 2015 (2869 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

Lupane hospital turns to crowd-funding

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 63 Views

Cheating exposes affair with minor

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 103 Views

Married women are jealous of Bev

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 94 Views

One more arrested over Aug 1 violence

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 83 Views

Mnangagwa and Chamisa MPs fume over deferred vehicles

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 101 Views

Mugabe's party has not disbanded

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 57 Views

Kombi accident death toll rises to 6

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 58 Views

Mthuli Ncube hints on currency reforms

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 74 Views

Church slams Zimbabwe gay teacher

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 57 Views

Dembare reach second round as FC Platinum, Ngezi bow out

by Staff reporter | 22 September 2018 | 71 Views

Man loses 'Toyota Raum' to robbers

by Simbarashe Sithole | 21 September 2018 | 246 Views

International media stampede to interview Mnangagwa

by Staff Reporter | 21 September 2018 | 326 Views

Brutalising vendors must stop

by Jacob Mafume, MDC National Spokesperson | 21 September 2018 | 232 Views

I doubt if Dabengwa really endorsed Mnangagwa - Mthwakazi activist

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 214 Views

Marc Cayeux gives everyone hope after top ten finish in Cape Town

by Agencies | 21 September 2018 | 135 Views

President Mnangagwa debuts at UNGA

by Bevan Musoko | 21 September 2018 | 196 Views

BREAKING: Harare - Johannesburg Intercape bus in accident, 10 people dead

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 361 Views

Stop unnecessary traveling to cholera affected areas - MIHR

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 148 Views

We need Mthwakazi restoration soon

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 141 Views

Rural development agenda should be on the priority list

by Stephen Jakes | 21 September 2018 | 136 Views

IMF offers to help Zimbabwe clear arrears

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 264 Views

Mugabe's party rejoins Mnangagwa's Zanu-PF

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 263 Views

Streak seeks ZC liquidation

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 176 Views

'Chamisa must not waste time fighting Mnangagwa'

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 285 Views

Chipanga appeal thrown out

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 199 Views

New minister cracks the whip

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 202 Views

Deal decisively with Parly delinquents

by Zvamaida Murwira | 21 September 2018 | 175 Views

Mthuli Ncube faces tough choices

by Lovemore Chikova | 21 September 2018 | 199 Views

Currency reform answer to Zimbabwe's economic woes

by Bongani Ngwenya | 21 September 2018 | 182 Views

Dabengwa ditches Chamisa, endorses Mnangagwa?

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 180 Views

Sibusiso Moyo alive & well

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 169 Views

'Mugabe University not a priority'

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 155 Views

Chamisa battles open rebellion

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 182 Views

Prophet up for pregnant woman rape

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 108 Views

Bulawayo pins hopes on devolution

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 104 Views

Nust shut down

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 166 Views

Zimbabweans want US or Zim dollar only, not SA Rand

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 159 Views

Chamisa's MDC Alliance starts merging into single party

by Staff reporter | 21 September 2018 | 108 Views