How to Make Electricity Available in Africa

How to Make Electricity Available in Africa.

Make Electricity Available in Africa

Executive Summary

Africa continues to remain behind regarding electricity production. The amount of electricity produced rarely meets the consumer demands. Moreover, the means used in the generation of electricity are ineffective and cannot produce reliable electricity enough to power industries sufficiently. That is why it is important for Africa to turn to means that can help increase the levels of electricity generation that is sufficient and reliable. In this excerpt, it prudent to note a raft of measures that can help makes electricity more available and reliable in Africa. One of the measures involves encouraging foreign investors in the energy sector to offer another alternative way of generating power such as solar energy, especially in the rural areas. Because of this, more families will access the most affordable source of power. Furthermore, there is a need for public and private partnership in the generation of electricity. Besides, the effects of international grants and loans on electricity generation in Africa help bridge the gap between the current and future generations and assure value for money through energy generation. The excerpt also contains measures at the family levels that can help increase electricity connectivity especially in rural areas and among the low-income earners in Africa.


How to Make Electricity Available in Africa

Electricity is a major boost to investment and industrialization in any place in the world. Power efficiency is a pertinent issue to business productivity, reliability, and cost effectiveness. According to a report by The World Bank dubbed Making Power Available for Africa and Viable for its Utilities, one in every three Africans is not connected to electricity (The World Bank). To this effect, those without electricity are forced to use alternative means of lighting, which include kerosene and firewood for lighting their homes. Consequently, the high number of people who are not connected to power can be attributed to the low electricity generation, which cannot match the market demand. This is because the installation cost is too high in most of the African countries making it unaffordable for most of the households. Additionally, electricity tariffs keep on hiking discouraging those without electricity connection from applying for connection. Evidently, power shortage does not only affect individual companies but also Africa’s economy. In every year, Africa loses over two percent of its GDP through power shortages (Jackson). According to Jackson, MTN, which is the biggest mobile network provider in Nigeria, was forced to frequently shut down its services for long hours in 2015 due to insufficient and unreliable power supply. Jackson adds that countries with electricity connection below 80% have low per capita income compared to countries with the higher power connection. Also, the massive power shortages in 2008 caused mine factories to shut down in South Africa laying off most of the workers (Jackson). Despite having so many natural resources, Africa continues to lag behind in electricity generation, supply, and connection as compared to other continents (The World Bank). For instance, South Africa alone produces more than 50% of the electricity of what the whole continent produces. On the contrary, Nigeria, which is the most populous country in Africa, produces a less than a tenth of its population.

There is a need to formulate a raft of measures to ensure availability of sufficient and reliable electricity supply in Africa. According to the African Development Bank, more than 60% of the African population is not connected to power due to poor infrastructure grid (Jackson). Despite this, the African Development Bank acknowledges that Africa is moving in the right direction, but its efforts are bogged down by the slow rate at which changes are taking effect. Nonetheless, most of the countries in Africa have put up measures to improve power grid and electricity connection. Undeniably, most of the African countries rely on coal, gas, and hydroelectric in their electricity production. For example, coal accounts for more than 38% of electricity production in the whole of Africa. Conversely, more than 98% of electricity comes from nuclear energy in South Africa. Accordingly, South Africa has the largest electricity grid in Africa as compared to other African countries.

Unlike in the past when the governments were left with the sole responsibility of producing electricity, the private sector is playing a phenomenal role in solving electricity shortage. For example, the private sector is coming with innovations that are helping in connecting more population to power. In addition, the private sector is investing in solar energy to connect families and industries to electricity. As a result, solar energy is becoming a reliable alternative source of electricity since it is cheap and appropriate for small-scale power needs. More foreign companies are investing in Africa using solar energy to light homes and offices.

Africa is blessed with an array of unexploited natural resources. Most of the African governments have turned to renewable sources of energy in a bid to satisfy power demand and provide a reliable power source in their countries. For instance, Kenya has invested heavily in geothermal and wind power to increase its national power grid. In that, geothermal produces way over 20% of electricity in Kenya (Jackson).

The burden of power production, supply, and installation is heavy for most of the African countries since they are poor. African countries should encourage public-private partnership to encourage more electricity production to get a reprieve to this situation. When private sectors partner with the government, more innovations will make at an affordable cost. Therefore, public-private partnership ensures concerted effort in dealing with difficult challenges in the production of affordable and reliable electricity power. Moreover, African governments should create an open door policy for investors who want to major electricity production. Most of the foreign companies fail to invest in Africa due to the unconducive business environment. However, foreign companies in partnership with the African governments have made huge investments in the production of electricity through renewable energy sources such as the wind, solar and geothermal. Furthermore, international grants and loans are needed to help Africa find its way out of the power shortage quagmire. For instance, the Obama administration provided more than $1 billion dollars for electrification of Africa (Jackson). Also, The World Bank and the African Development Bank have also invested heavily in the electrification of rural areas and production of green energy in most of the African countries. More support that is international can help turn things for good in Africa.

The World Bank recommends for sharing of the initial connection cost between the large-scale firms and the government to offset the high cost for rural area residents and low-income earners. In addition, families should be connected to individual meters to ensure that they pay according to their abilities. This in turn will ensure that more families are connected to electricity. Despite the harsh economic situations, the African governments should also invest heavily in electricity production and connection. For instance, the South African government has invested in the production of extra 1500 megawatts of power to add to its national grid to meet consumers’ demands (Jackson). The Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Angola have made massive investments in electricity production in an attempt to add on their existing capacity.



Works Cited

Jackson, Tom. How Africa Gets Power to 620 Million More People Could Have a Huge Influence on Our World. Public Radio International, 06 Jul. 2015, Accessed 12 Jan. 2017.

The World Bank. Making Power Affordable for Africa and Viable for its Utilities. The World Bank, 2017, Accessed 12 Jan. 2017.


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How to Make Electricity Available in Africa

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