What used to be a Nigerian problem is now being experienced in a lot of other African countries as poor power supply has become one of the biggest threats to the continent’s economic outlook.
From Nigeria to Ghana, and South Africa to Zambia, inadequate power supply and the lack of infrastructure to deliver electricity is crimping economic growth, frustrating businesses and depriving millions of families of basic facilities. That’s undermining growth on the continent at the same time that falling prices for oil and commodities such as copper and iron ore force governments to cut back on spending.
“The energy deficit is a real obstacle to our development,” Alassane Ouattara, Ivory Coast’s president, said in a speech at the African Development Bank’s annual meeting in Abidjan, the commercial capital. “With abundant energy, Africa will be able to develop its industrial fabric and process its commodities.”
The AfDB, as the bank is known, estimates the continent needs investment of $93bn each year until 2020 to help fix power shortages and other infrastructure bottlenecks. The World Bank estimates that the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, which has a combined population of about 800 million, generates almost the same amount of electricity as Spain, a nation of 47 million people.
Nigeria and South Africa, Africa’s two biggest economies, can’t produce enough power to meet demand, restricting growth and investment in those markets. Read more
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