Seen from Space, Africa at night is un-lit. It is as dark as an almost-empty Siberia –however with over 1 billion people, Africa accounts for over a sixth of the worlds’ population – but generates only 4% of global electricity.
Africa’s energy generation capacity is woefully inadequate. The installed generation capacity of the whole of sub-Saharan Africa is 68GW -- less than Spain's -- and as much as one quarter of that 68 GW capacity is unavailable because of aging power plants and poor maintenance. Also the small scale of most national power systems and the widespread reliance on expensive oil-based power generation have kept power costs extremely high in Africa.
Per capita electricity consumption in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) averages only 124 kilowatt-hours a year, barely 1% of the consumption typical in high-income countries – or roughly enough electricity for every other African to have one single light bulb burning for six hours per day. Only about one-fifth of the sub-Saharan population has access to any electricity at all. At current trends, less than 40% of African countries will reach universal access to electricity by 2050.
To change this trend, and to bring light and power to Africa, there must be the political will to build, manage and maintain a sustainable energy infrastructure in Africa. This is exactly where The Infrastructure Consortium for Africa (ICA) adds value. Through our convening power, the ICA has been able to secure major commitments to transformational power projects throughout Africa.
ICA Energy Platform
ICA members (from G8 and G20 countries) can ‘champion’ certain sectors – and thereby provide strategic sector leadership and mobilize resources for energy projects in Africa. With this in mind, The USA is the ICA Energy Sector leader. Accordingly, the ICA Energy Platform was established in 2011.
ICA’s Energy Platform is focused on all aspects of energy – with a strong focus on renewable energy.
ICA Energy Platform Results and Impact
The ICA Water Platform has had a profound and meaningful impact on resource mobilization for sustainable energy projects in Africa. A good example of this positive impact is POWER AFRICA.
In his speech at the Business Leaders Forum on July 1st 2013, in Dar es Salam, United States President Barak Obama thanked the African Development Bank (where the ICA is housed) for its partnership in rolling out a massive initiative to bring power to Africa. The initiative is called POWER AFRICA – and it is a new five year United States Presidential Initiative aimed at supporting economic growth and development by increasing access to reliable, affordable and sustainable power in Africa.
POWER AFRICA is designed as a multi-stakeholder partnership among the governments of The United States of America, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia, the U.S. and African private sector, and the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Energy Investment Picture – Latest Figures from 2012
ICA members committed $7.8bn to energy projects in 2012. This represents more than a 100% rise over 2011 – but is still considerably less than the ICA member contributions in 2010, which were almost $13bn.
North African projects received 31% of all energy commitments in 2012, at $2.4bn – a substantial increase in 2011’s $500m commitment.
Sub-Saharan Africa received $5.4bn, of which $1.6bn went to The Republic of South Africa and $486m to Central Africa.
Eastern Africa projects received nearly $1.3bn in financial commitments, while Western African projects received nearly $1bn. in 2012.
Central African energy projects have seen a steady increase in funding over the last two years. This region received almost 10% of the share of African commitments – in contrast to 2009 and 2010, when that share was only 3%. This trend could continue because ICA members have expressed interest in backing the Inga, Ruzzi and other projects in the region. Also, the huge hydropower potential of the DRC, Ethiopia and other ‘water towers’ should support the much-increased cross-border trade in electricity over the next decade.
More funding is needed and current investment levels must be quadrupled if Africas’ energy requirements are to be met – and Africa has enormous, un-tapped resources in wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower.
The ICA funded the African Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), a comprehensive World Bank study to assess the magnitude of Africa’s infrastructure needs. The 2009 AICD Flagship report Africa's Infrastructure: A Time for Transformation revealed many important energy challenges for Africa: including climate change, renewable energy and the global financial crisis and the implications on access to energy and food. This Flagship study and all the knowledge tools associated with it provided the platform for the AIKP, (African Infrastructure Knowledge Programme) an African Development Bank managed initiative that aims to build on the work of the AICD by collecting relevant statistics about infrastructure in Africa.
Source: ICA. For more detailed information and the latest figures on energy in Africa, consult the 2012 Annual Report, Infrastructure Financing Trends in Africa.
For more information about specific ICA Energy Platform activities, please visit ICA News/Energy