01 July 2013, Lagos – Nigeria is among African countries that would benefit from a $7 billion power initiative unveiled for African countries by US President Barack Obama during his visit to the continent.
The intervention fund is for the upgrade of power supply in sub-Saharan Africa.
Obama, on a tour of three Africa countries, on Sunday pledged $7 billion to help combat frequent power blackouts in the region.
Quoting a White House statement, the CNN reported that the funds from the initiative, tagged ‘Power Africa’, would be distributed over the next five years.
Also to benefit from the funds are Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique.
“These countries have set ambitious goals in electric power generation, and are making the utility and energy sector reforms to pave the way for investment and growth,” the White House statement said.
According to the statement, more than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is without electricity, and more than 85 per cent of those living in rural areas lack access to the facility.
In view of this, the White House said sub-Saharan Africa would need more than $300bn to achieve universal electricity access by 2030.
Despite the huge investments committed to the power sector under the Olusegun Obasdanjo regime, power supply has remained abysmally poor in Nigeria.
As such, Nigerians spend about $11bn annually on energy generation through the usage of generators, which involved the usage of fuel.
The best the country has got is a 6,500 Mega Watts capacity and contrary to the claims in government quarters that the country was generating at least 4,500MW of electricity daily, it was gathered that the figure was significantly lower than that.
PHCN statistics showed that the last time the country generated 4,500MW of electricity was on December 23, 2012.
This means that all the power generation plants in the country have not generated up to 4,000MW since January 2013 due to consistent system collapse.
Recently, power generation in the country dropped by 1,598 megawatts following the vandalism of two major gas pipelines supplying gas to eight power generating stations.
The White House statement said the $7bn fund would help sub-Saharan African countries upgrade power supply and enhance the lives of their citizens.