AfDB president highlights importance of electricity

21 Aug 17

Africa cannot “develop in the dark”, African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina has said, explaining the bank’s emphasis on investment in electricity.

Speaking at the summit of the Southern African Development Community in Pretoria, Adesina called for action to improve the continent’s power supply, and also its investment in agriculture, climate change and industrialisation.

He said that by 2016 the Bank had made investments totalling $10bn in the SADC area, accounting for 22% of its investments.

But Adesina warned that structural problems continued to hamper growth.

“At the top of the list is electricity, Africa cannot develop in the dark,” he said, pointing to $12bn being invested over the next five years in energy, to leverage a further $45-50bn from the private sector and other sources.

Major projects in the SADC area included the Medupi power project in South Africa, and rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam, a hydro-electric scheme on the Zambezi that supplies 34% and 37% of the power used by Zimbabwe and Zambia respectively.

The bank has also led a loan syndication of $965m for South Africa’s Eskom electricity provider, to support development of 13,000mw of power generation capacity.

It was also supporting work by the Democratic Republic of Congo towards the development of the Inga Dam, “which, if we all get right, will turn on the lights for all of Africa,” Adesina said.

SADC’s member states are:

Angola

Botswana

Democratic Republic of Congo

Lesotho

Madagascar

Malawi

Mauritius

Mozambique

Namibia

Seychelles

South Africa

Swaziland

Tanzania

Zambia

Zimbabwe

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