Chinese investment in Africa’s power sector hits $13b

By Moses Ebosele

THE Chinese Government and its state-owned companies have invested not less than $13billion in the development of power sector in sub-Saharan Africa between 2010 and 2015.

According to a new report put together by the International Energy Agency (IEA), massive investments is still needed to achieve universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa.

In Nigeria and other parts of the continent, lack of adequate power supply is according to experts responsible for the mass unemployment, under-development and excruciating poverty situation.

IEA explained that Chinese companies are playing an increasingly significant role in the development of the power sector in sub-Saharan Africa, and “accounted for 30% of new capacity additions in the region over the last five years”.

The report titled: “Boosting the power sector in Sub-Saharan Africa: China’s Investment, is part of the IEA Partner Country series and “offers the first pan-regional overview of the involvement of Chinese companies in the region’s electricity supply system”.

It explained that the African continent faces major electrification challenges, adding that more than 635 million people live without electricity in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Besides, the report noted that the projects are financed largely through public lending from China.

IEA’s Deputy Executive Director, Paul Simons,said: “African countries have relied heavily on China to support the expansion of their electricity systems, to enable growth and improve living standards.”

It explained that Greenfield power projects contracted to Chinese companies have become widespread in the region, adding that “Over half of all projects are based on renewable energy, mainly hydropower”.

According to the report, training of local technicians is essential to maintain efficiency and performance of newly built plants, “In 2014, a special report from the IEA’s World Energy Outlook on sub-Saharan Africa showed that the lack of energy access and the shortage of electricity supply were severe constraints to better living conditions and hampered economic growth. In line with its policy to open its doors to emerging economies and become a global hub for clean energy technologies, the IEA is dedicated to supporting Africa’s electricity sector development.”

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