African leaders attending the on-going World Economic Forum in Abuja discussed on how to review the place of the power sector in promoting economic and industrial growth in the continent. They were quick to admit that the privatization of the power sector to encourage foreign private investments is critical to the attainment of the desired growth in Africa.
The sub-meeting on the power sector was a side event of the World Economic Forum, whose objectives was to woo investors to tap into the huge electricity market in Nigeria and the entire African continent. In Nigeria for instance, only about 25% of the population have access to power while 2 out of 3 Sub-Saharan Africans lack access to power. This means that about 589 million Africans lack reliable access to electricity.
Nigeria?s Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, said, “In order to meet the immediate demand of our people we need to at least quadruple that generation capacity and make sure that we continue to grow.”
Seth Terkper, Minister of Finance, Ghana, said, “The main challenge is in tackling the distribution sector which remains the Achilles heel of the sector.”
Delegates at the meeting therefore advocated massive rural electrification to create access to power for every African. To achieve this they suggested that investors attention should not only be paid to providing electricity from gas but other equally important sources of electricity like hydro, solar and wind.
Patrick Karmawa, UNIDO Country Representative, stated that, “Imagine investing in those areas within the next one to two years, you would have already been able to transform those regions.”
International organizations represented at the meeting pledged their support to help end the energy crisis in Africa.
Sim Tshabalala, CEO Africa, Stanland Bank Group, said, “There is a lot that can be done in making sure that the legal and regulatory environment is properly structured.”
The huge power shortage caused by inadequate infrastructure to generate, transmit and distribute power in Africa present huge opportunities for foreign private investors.


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