IKE AMOS 18 August 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – The Federal Government says the country needs an annual investment of US$14 billion (about N2.24 trillion) on energy and related infrastructure to address the epileptic power situation in the country.
Speaking on the sidelines of the recent US-Africa summit in the United States, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the government was concerned about making the energy sector more transparent and attracting the much-needed foreign investment.
Also speaking, Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, advocated increased investments in gas and solar panels as a means of improving the access of rural communities to electricity.
According to Nebo, the falling costs of solar have made it increasingly attractive to African policymakers.
He said, “Solar is gaining parity with other generation sources and it can meet the gap for communities far from the national grid.
“There is no doubt that the potential is there. Clean coal technology can give us good electricity and minimum pollution at the same time. It is important we let Africa be. Nuclear power is also something Africa can latch onto.”
Nebo, however noted that the Federal Government would rely heavily on gas and coal for on-grid power in the coming decades.
Sospeter Muhongo, Tanzania’s Minister of Power, emphasised the need for the exploitation of gas resources, estimated at 14.5 trillion cubic metres.
Muhongo added that Tanzania had scrapped plans for more hydroelectric dams, as climate change is set to make water flows unpredictable.
Muhongo further stated that coal is expected to take a greater share, along with geothermal and solar in the country.
Data from the World Bank revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa has around 80 giga watts of installed power capacity, comparable to Vietnam, adding that the whole of Africa has about as much installed capacity as Belgium.
World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, who was also speaking at the US-Africa summit, said, “It’s a situation I have referred to as energy apartheid. Right now we have to be serious about what we are going to do to boost energy supply.
“And if we find ourselves in a situation where some say ‘no coal, no nuclear, no hydro,’ then we are not serious. The growth of solar and wind is a fantastic development and I think it’s going to grow even more, and we have to make sure the financing is available,” he said.
To this end, the US Agency for International Development, USAID, and the Rockefeller Foundation announced a $100 million global resilience partnership, designed to help African countries cope with the effects of climate change, poverty and food insecurity.
Commenting on the partnership, USAID administrator, Rajiv Shah, said, “Disasters and shocks pose an unparalleled threat to the world’s most vulnerable communities and hamstring global humanitarian response.
“This new bold partnership will help the global community pivot from being reactive in the wake of disaster to driving evidence-based investments that enable cities, communities, and households to better manage and adapt to inevitable shocks.”