About 600 million people in the continent live without access to electricity.
Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania are to benefit from a $5 billion new technical and financial support by the World Bank for the development of some energy projects in Africa.
The support is coming in partnership with President Obama’s Power Africa initiative aimed at providing the necessary infrastructure for the development of the continent.
The World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim, said at the first U.S.- Africa Summit, that the new financial commitment was urgently needed to generate more electricity for the people of Africa.
According to the World Bank President, about 600 million people in the continent live without access to electricity, despite the fact that Africa possesses some of the world’s largest hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar potential, as well as significant oil and natural gas reserves.
Nigeria’s hydrocarbon reserves of about 30 billion barrels and natural gas reserves of about 165 trillion standard cubic feet, SCF, including 75.4 trillion SCF of non-associated gas is the highest in Africa and the tenth largest in the world.
Mr. Kim said the World Bank believes the U.S. Power Africa initiative would play an extremely important role in achieving the goal of providing electricity for Africa.
The Group’s new support, which he said follows President Obama’s lead, would commit $5 billion in direct financing, investment guarantees, and advisory services for project preparation in Power Africa in the
“The U.S. Government and the World Bank Group are working now on specific tasks and milestones which could help to achieve one quarter of Power Africa’s goal of generating 10,000 megawatts, MW of new power
in Sub Saharan Africa,” Mr. Kim said.
“Africa’s power crisis forces families and communities to spend significant amounts of their income on costly and unhealthy forms of energy, such as diesel generators or wood for indoor cooking fires,” the World Bank President said.
“Like Europe and the rest of the world, Africa deserves the same opportunity to exploit this green source of power to improve the lives and economic prospects of its people,” said the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop.
Beyond building up power generators, Africa must be connected to the market, which calls for regional cooperation to build the transmission network, Mr. Diop said.
He said the World Bank was working with African leaders and their development partners to create power pools in Africa’s East, West, Central, and Southern sub-regions, particularly with countries having abundant geothermal, gas, hydro, solar, and wind resources.
These resources, he said, are capable of feeding the excess power supply needs into a common pool, while neighbouring states with less energy and generation capacity could benefit from this integrated approach to delivering electricity to their people.