60 % of Sub-Saharan Africans to not have access to electricity by 2020

Nov 21, 2006 01:00 AM

About 60 % of Sub-Saharan Africans would not have access to electricity by 2020, according to the director for energy and water at the World Bank.
Jamal Saghir said: “What we are seeing is basically an energy crisis.” Energy was quickly being pushed up Africa’s development agenda as poor planning, mismanagement, natural disasters, growing demand and erratic investment stifled growth rates across the continent.

Saghir added that average electricity access of 25 % was getting worse. “Not only is Africa lagging behind other regions but, in recent years, the access gap has been widening.” He said that low water tables and the slow pace at which new generating capacity was being developed only aggravated the crisis.
An indication as to how severe the problem was a report by Tanzania’s Economic and Social Research Foundation found that power generation capacity needed to be doubled within the next 10 years, while Nigeria’s population, treble that of South Africa, only has a tenth of its supplyand even South Africa was struggling at times to make ends meet.

In Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe, power cuts and rationing have become fairly common and Saghir believes that the $ 2 bn a year the sector received from international institutions needed to be doubled to increase access rates to 35 % by 2015.
What made matters more serious was that a shortage of supply was quickly pushing up power tariffs, thereby making it more difficult for those who were actually connected to pay for services.

Source: Business in Africa Online
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