Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Africa: Inadequate, unreliable and Very Expensive Electric Power

NEWS BANJUL THE GAMBIA(MB)- The Gambian Minister of Energy has told more than three hundred delegates that are currently attending five days regional forum that inadequate, unreliable and very expensive electric supply is hindering Africa’s development.

Honorable Sira Wally Ndow Njie Gambian Minister of Energy has said this at the official opening of the workshop on Organisation of Electric Power Structure and Associated Training of the African Forum for Utility Regulators (AFUR), hosted by The Gambia Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) in Banjul from 31 May to 4 June, 2010.

She declared that this has made it difficult for the region to achieve most of its development aspiration adding that without energy, economics cannot grow and poverty cannot be reduced.

She went on, “As i speak here, without adequate, cheap and efficient electricity supply, most of the sectors will not perform well. “Energy is an important input in all sectors of the economy, it is utmost importance that electricity is avaiable for indistrial to thrive, commerce and agriculture to grow and for social services citing education and health to be easily accesssible”

Energy Minister noted that inadequate supply of electric power, decrease enterprise productivity, competitiveness and can contribute to unemployment rate of a country.

Therefore, lack of adequate electric supply, it honder severe constraints on economic activity and growth, which she added African energy sector need to do their utmost to save the continent from sinking.

In fact, she stressed electric power in Africa is grossly inadequate, unreliable and very expensive, while services by the energy sector is not sufficient to eradicate extreme poverty, “they are necessary for creating the condition for economic growth and improving social equality if they will not fail us”

Making her point clear, she said the provision of electric power should be seen as the sole responsible of governments but with the private sector.

Gambian Energy Minister decries that due to the huge investment requirement for the provision of electric power, governments are finding it difficult to raise the required investment needed to meet the energy needs in Africa.

The global financial crisis, she disclosed is also a contributing factor and is causing a number of electric power projects to be funded by multilateral funding agencies to be delayed and cancelled in many parts of the continent.

She therefore calls for partnership between the public and the private sector so as for the continent to meet its electric power needs adding that such collaboration will lead to increase supply of power for Africa.

According to her, public and private partnership is very crucial in meeting the needs of the great continent to the solution to our energy problems noting that if they partner it will be in the intrest of million Africans.

She salute AFUR for organising such a timely workshop, putting to them to know that energy sustainability in all the three dimensions i.e accessibility, availability and acceptability is one of the crucial issues facing humanity in the continent.

She finally tasked delegates to come up with the most ideal electric power market structure and model that will bring to African countries adequate, reliable and efficient electric power supply to meet both the current and future needs.

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