United States Power Africa Initiatives, The EU And China – Investment Or International Policy?


Most of Africa is dark in this 21st Century whilst areas that have access have been faced with unreliable supply often resulting from failing infrastructure and fuel supply insecurity. In most countries of Africa, access is fast declining as demand for power increases against collapsing infrastructure. The World Bank estimates that Africa’s largest infrastructure deficit can be found in the power sector, whether measured in terms of generation capacity, electricity consumption, or security of supply. Africa’s power infrastructure delivers only a fraction of the service found elsewhere in the developing world. The 48 countries of SubSaharan Africa (SSA) with a population of about 800 million, generates roughly the same amount of power as Spain (with a population of 45 million). According to Platts (2011), Africa had 147 GW of power generation capacity as of January 2011. With average growth of 8% in demand, this is woefully inadequate to meet the surging demand for power for the continent's industrial development and economic growth.

In terms of access, the World Bank again provides that only about a quarter of SSA have access to electricity, compared with about half in South Asia and more than 80% in Latin America, the Middle East and Northern Africa. This has been confirmed by the Union of Producers, Transporters and Distributers of Electricity in Africa (UPDEA).

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