Electricity powers development

SWAKOPMUND

03 May 2018 | Energy

Otis Finck - The World Energy Outlook 2014 factsheet published by the international agency related to Sub-Saharan Africa key projections to 2040, projects that by 2040 over 950 million people will have gained access to electricity in the region.



According to Dr Mohamedain E. Seif Elnasr, the CEO of the Regional Association of Energy Regulator for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA), cumulative investment of more than N$200 billion lowers the total without access by 15%.

Urban areas experienced the largest improvement in coverage and reliability of centralised electricity supply with mini-grid and off-grid systems providing electricity to 70% of those gaining access in rural areas.

“This is a major step forward but not far enough as it still leaves 530 million people in the region primarily in rural communities without electricity in 2040. It is however indicative that the future outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa is not bleak and that more effort is required in order to address and overcome key energy challenges.”

Seif Elnasr further said that the energy situation of Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region is a firm indication of how much work still needs to be done as to ensure that energy becomes a key enabler and game changer to doing business and increasing the productivity of industries.

“The challengers in energy networks as well as ever increasing deficiencies in energy supply are a common feature of most countries. These challenges contribute to the reduction of revenue of industries thorough increase of production costs. Industries being negatively affected by these challenges in the energy sector thus cannot thrive and create much needed employment for people or attract much needed required investment into the region.”

He listed inadequate level of coverage of physical energy infrastructure due to insufficient investment in the energy sector, inefficiency in and unreliability of existing energy infrastructure services, increased economic and population growth, the high cost of operating energy infrastructure facilities and the inability to prepare bankable projects as main challenges.

Seif Elnasr added that the energy poverty in the region should be seen as an investment opportunity for power generation on a regional basis and an opportunity to build regional power interconnectors in order to facilitate trade in power from surplus to deficit regions.

He suggested that priority should also be accorded to the development of regional infrastructure which should assist to achieve economies of scale.

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