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Fellow joins Presidential energy task team for Africa

Fellow joins Presidential energy task team for Africa

2016 Tutu Fellow Succès Masra has been appointed to the Presidential Task Team team at the African Development Bank that has been tasked with delivering the New Deal on Energy in Africa. The team will be in charge of projects like Inga Hydroelectric, which will be the largest of its kind on the continent, and the African Renewable Energy Initiative.  Masra, the Principal Energy Economist at the bank, will play a pivotal role in mobilizing capital for financing of the energy projects that will be part of this project's portfolio. 

Energy is a key economic driver. Over 645 million Africans have no access to electricity. Power consumption per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa is the lowest of all continents, currently estimated at 181 kWh per annum, compared to 6,500 kWh in Europe and 13,000 kWh in the United States. Energy‐sector bottlenecks and power shortages are estimated to cost Africa some 2-4% of GDP annually, undermining economic growth, employment creation and investment. Companies in Tanzania and Ghana are losing 15% of the value of sales as a result of power outages. South Africa’s economic growth has been hobbled in recent years by severe electricity generation capacity constraints and frequent ‘load‐shedding’.

The cost in lives is high, too. An estimated 600,000 Africans die annually due to indoor air pollution associated with the use of fuel wood for cooking. Children under-perform for lack of electricity, since over 90% of Africa’s primary schools lack electricity. Lives are at risk in African hospitals, as life-saving equipment and services lie unused because of lack of electricity. Africa’s poorest people are paying among the world’s highest prices for energy. A woman living in a village in northern Nigeria spends around 60 to 80 times per unit more for her energy than a resident of New York City or London.

At the same time, Africa is rich in energy resources. The continent has well over 10 TW of solar potential, 350 GW of hydroelectric potential, 110 GW of wind potential and an additional 15 GW of geothermal potential. This does not even include coal and gas.

The New Deal on Energy in Africa will seek to reverse these shortfalls and develop the continent's energy resources. It is an ambitious partnership with the goal of providing universal access to energy in Africa by 2025. The New Deal provides a platform for public-private partnerships that will seek to unify efforts to achieve this goal of universal access to energy. Among the principles that will guide action, two are finance-related: mobilising capital and increasing investments in energy and climate financing. 

The New Deal has targets that include:

  • On-grid generation: to deliver sufficient on-grid energy for industrial, commercial and residential consumption through the building of 160 GW of new generation capacity. This is equivalent to 800 power plants with capacity of 200 MW each.
  • Transmission and on-grid connections: increase on-grid transmission of power and the delivery of 130 million new grid connections.
  • Off-grid generation: deliver 75 million off-grid connections. This will be equivalent of creating 300 companies with the similar scale to that of M-KOPA in Kenya, the most successful African off-grid "Pay-as-you-go" solar system.

The President of the bank, Akinwumi Adesina, acknowledged that the project is ambitious: "China installs 4 GW of electricity every four weeks. Vietnam achieved an annual connection of 1.1 million people and achieved almost universal access to electricity within 10 years. Bangladesh connected 660,000 people per year via off-grid systems. What will it take to light up and power Africa? By achieving 11 times what Bangladesh did will deliver the 75 million off-grid connections. It will take achieving 12 times what Vietnam did to achieve 130 million new grid connections. And it will take 1/3 of China's annual electricity installations to deliver the 160GW of grid supply. Africa can do this!"

Masra's role on the team will be important in helping households that previously may have been in the dark flip the switch in the coming years.

 

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Wednesday, 20 November 2019

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