Good Example Of Essay On Electricity Access In Sub-Saharan Africa
Private Power Plants in Sub-Saharan Africa
The project, “Power Africa” took up notable transactions during the first year of operation whereby one of them is Ethiopia’s project that generates 500 MW independent project. Other beneficiaries are countries as Kenya and its wind projects, the Tanzanian solar project that is projected to have the potential of producing 5 MW, and the privatization efforts that Nigeria has been putting in its energy sector . If The Nigerian project is successful, the credit shall mostly go to the Nigerians because the input of USAID in the project is not as pronounced.
The Ethiopian government’s negotiations with the Corbetti Geothermal Facility and the transaction advisors provided by Power Africa are in progress. The partnerships and funds provided by organizations such as dVentus Technologies have contributed towards the completion of the grids by adding 2 million smart meters.
The SSA countries also lack the capacity to implement the projects of providing energy for all their citizens because of financial constraints. Power Africa, the project that was initiated by the U. S government, helps these countries overcome the shortcomings by bringing together private investors and forming partnerships between the public and private sectors. The investors and donors bring in finances, expertise and materials required to move the project forward. That shall address the issue with the exclusion of the most remote and under developed areas because of the lack of expertise and access.
The efforts of the project to leverage partnerships that seem strategic in an effort to maximize its impact have borne fruit whereby multilateral institutions, African governments, the private sector and donors have joined in. The reason behind the efforts to form the partnerships is to ensure that the investment of the private sector in the production of renewable energy is realized to the maximum. The specific efforts and results are such as:
There was the signing of memoranda of understanding by the U. S government and a number of the African countries that are in focus. The primary focus countries are six and they represent the willingness of African governments in the policy and regulatory reforms.
A commitment of the World Bank has lit hope in the success of the project because the bank has committed itself to commit $5 billion in financial and technical support of Power Africa. The amount includes the guarantees and loans that the bank has extended to the six focus countries the $5 billion dollars was in addition to an initial $3.3 billion that the bank had committed to the project for the whole of Sub Saharan Africa (SSA).
There is also support from the African Development Bank (AfDB) whereby the bank committed itself as an anchor partner to the entire project. In support in the energy sectors in Africa, the bank committed $670 million for the current operations in the initial six countries. The bank hopes to top up with $2 billion sometime in 2015 in support of the project over the entire region of SSA.
The Government of Sweden is also participating in the project whereby the government announced its commitment of $1 billion to fuel up the efforts of the project of Power Africa. The funds are also expected to support the distribution and transmission upgrades.
. The great divide does not only exist between SSA and the world. It also exists between countries in the Sub Saharan Africa. For instance, the sources of energy are not equally distributed among the countries in the SSA. In addition to that, the lack of proper interconnection grids and regional generation facilities in the region leaves the least advantaged countries lagging behind in development with no source of support. Besides that, urban area in the various countries have better access to electricity as compared to rural areas. Only 12% of the population in rural areas benefits on electricity as compared to 31% of the population in the urban areas. The use of alternative sources of power such as solar energy and biomass is on the increase. The problem lies in the sustainability of some of the sources.
The support of the United States is projected in the numerous organizations of the United States such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U, S. Export Bank and the U. S. African Development Foundation among others.
Besides the partnerships, the project has succeeded in bringing together private investors that bring in more than $9 billion in commitment to support the generation of over 8000MW of electricity in Sub Saharan Africa. General Electrics, for instance, promised to bring in 5000 MW of energy that is affordable by the majority. Heirs Holding and Simbion Power are other organizations in the private sector that are willing to get involved in the mega projects of powering Africa. In order to solve the issue with electricity in SSA, political commitment is required to ensure that the strategies put in place are implemented to completion without corruption. In addition to that, the installation of electricity and house wiring should be subsidized enough to make it affordable to a wider scope of the population. That is where political commitment becomes a necessity. Without the political commitment to fight corruption, the proper exploitation of resources shall remain a challenge.
The problem with SSA is the lack of proper resource exploitation. In some of the countries, corruption waters down any efforts to improve the state of access to electricity. South Africa uses coal as the source of power. As a result, the levels of pollution have risen because of the increased electricity-driven activities. In response to the lack of proper resource exploitation, there is the suggestion to construct large-scale dams. However, such projects could result in the displacement of people and the loss of land for farming and herding. The solution to that could be the construction of such large scale dams in the unpopulated arid and semi-arid areas of SSA
According to the annual report of Power Africa that was released on July 2014, the generation of more that 5000MW was ongoing at the time of the posting of the report. The activities of the first year of implementation was projected to have the capacity to make more that 5 million connections in homes, businesses and earning institutions.
Supporting the private sector ensures that the country has more sources of power generation. That makes electricity available to more numbers of people like the case of Uganda. Although the project is still in progress, the Bujagali Dam on the Nile is expected to generate close to half of the energy required by Uganda. Its completion shall open doors to many activities and the economic development of the country. The U. N. Decade of Sustainable Energy for all is expected to ensure that there is global access to electricity by 2040 according to the International Energy Agency (2014).
The rural areas do not attract investors because of the low rate of electricity consumption. The offer of electricity bill subsidies is also difficult to offer to small populations. The tariff schemes found in SSA cater for large populations that are large consumers. Such subsidies have implications on the electrification of the rural areas where majority of the population is poor. Such limitations are expected to subside upon the introduction of the cheaper electricity rates that the new partnerships shall offer.
The availability of electrical power is also important in enhancing the rate of the economic development in SSA. According to research, the average cost of hydropower energy in $0.01 per kWh. That is far more cost effective as compared to the cost of the power generated from coal and generators. The cost of electricity generated from coal is $0.04 per kWh and that obtained from generators is $0.3 per kWh. With the participation of the local governments, connection in the remote areas shall be done with the donor funds and the connectivity rates subsidized to encourage the installation of electricity across Africa; even the poorest of the regions. The use of hydro power is important and effective, but dependent on the climate. To address that, the use of the untapped wind and geothermal power sources is a necessary step to take in achieving the target to provide power for all. Countries such as Kenya have a lot of unexploited geothermal, solar and wind potential.
In the end, they end up spending much more on paraffin in the long run. Without electricity, the running of business late in the evening becomes difficult. As a result, it is more possible to conduct criminal activities in such environments. It also becomes impossible for the security forces to work at night because it requires them to have reasonable lighting in the office and assured security after their shift.
If the policies that are set are followed to the latter, majority of the world’s population shall have electricity by 2030 whereby the projected investment could be at $38 billion. However, there is a challenge in the rapidly increasing population growth. The growth outdoes the lever of development and the condition of the lack of electricity may take a long time to make any significant impact in the general community.
In conclusion, the private-public partnerships and donor funds are among the major support systems that are running the Power Africa initiative. Many developed countries have joined in the donor programs supporting the project throughout Africa. The six focus countries have portrayed tremendous advancement in the enhancement of access to electricity for the citizens. Countries such as Nigeria are capable of completing some of the private power companies. However, one of the projects that started about six years ago may require support to move to the final phase because most of the work is already done.
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Davidson, O. Electricity Access to the Poor: A study of South Africa and. 2015.
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Power Africa. Fact Sheet: Power Africa. June 30, 2013. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-
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