AfDB Rues Energy Crisis in Africa, to Invest $12bn in the Sector

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Abimbola Akosile

The President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina has said the bank is investing $12 billion in the energy sector on the continent for the next five years to leverage the $45-$50 billion required for energy development.

Adesina, who lamented that about 645 million Africans do not have access to power and when they do, it is unreliable, added that last year, the AfDB provided $1.7 billion in financing energy and helping to provide electricity to over three million people.

Speaking in Lagos at the launch of two books titled: ‘Transformative Paradigms in African Development’ and ‘A Journey in African Development’ written by Chief Bisi Ogunjobi, a former Vice President of AfDB, Adesina said power supply was not only central to the continent’s economy, but that to stay in power, African leaders must address the power problem on the continent.

He lamented that Nigeria is facing serious power problems which present and past government have continued to work very hard to address, and warned that since the last election in Ghana was decided by power supply, governments must solve the power problem to remain in power.

“The development of the private sector is crucial for African economies. The bulk of the private sector accounted for by small and medium scale enterprises, which lack financing to grow their businesses, and their challenges are compounded by structural factors such as lack of electricity, that drives up their cost of doing business.

“Unlocking access to affordable financing, reducing over-taxation and addressing the problem of power will unleash the incredible potential of the private sector, (hence) AfDB is supporting various countries’ efforts at power generation and distribution by investing huge sums money to take the continent out of darkness.

“In Nigeria, we provided $200 million to support the Nigeria Electricity Trader to float bonds to address the challenges in the power sector. We supported the construction of Morocco’s Noor Ouzazarte, the largest concentrated solar power in the world, and also supported the development of the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project, the largest in Africa,” Adesina said.

“Two weeks ago,” he said, “at the margins of the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, AfDB also “signed a new $6billion energy financing facility to be provided by Japan to support power system, transition including clean coal technology for the continent.”

AfDB, according to him, also helped mobilise a syndicated $965 million for South Africa’s ESKON, the highest syndicate in African history- to support it to develop 13,000 mega-watts of electricity, even as the bank has just launched a $500 million facility for energy inclusion to support renewable energy companies.

Author of the book, Ogunjobi who spent over 30 years of senior management and professional experience in national and international banking, said the books look at the impact of the continent’s myriads of socio-economic development problems, and offer solutions.
He called for adequate mobilisation of domestic resources for sustained economic growth, investment in agriculture good governance, strengthening of institutional capacity and provision of appropriate economic policies; adding that “the time to focus on these is now.”