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Page added on November 29, 2006

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Investment key to end Africa energy crisis

African countries need to develop regional power grids and attract more investment to the sector if they want to avoid the power shortages plaguing the region, a senior World Bank official said on Tuesday.

A long-running drought, chronic under-investment, conflicts in some countries and higher global oil prices have contributed to the power outages and rationing across sub-Saharan Africa this year, forcing businesses to curtail production and factories to close.
Vijay Iyer, sector manager for energy group in the bank’s Africa region, said the crisis could shave off 1 to 2 percent of gross domestic product growth in some countries.

“Stepping up Africa’s electricity generation and access will need quantum jumps, which requires money, capacity and commitment from countries about being more pro-active about their sectors and more bold about reforms to underpin the investment, both private and public,” Iyer said in an interview.

“We hope that countries will translate the sense of urgency and priority they’re placing on energy now in a sustained way over the next four to five years, so that we start to see a turnaround in this situation,” he added.

While there are some short-term solutions to address the problems, Iyer said countries have to look further ahead given increasing economic demands and population growth.


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