emPOWER Africa – Part 1: The Need
It is no secret that the economic growth and electricity supply of any given country are highly correlated, and if Africa is to reach the economic prosperity it hopes for, it would definitely need a huge amount of power to fuel the increasing demand for electricity it is facing today!
Africa has been starving for electricity for a long time now, and just by skimming over some macroeconomic facts, it becomes clearly perceptible that the region’s energy sector is considerably underdeveloped, and that’s a serious problem!
From deficient energy access, to limited amount of capacity installed to poor electricity consumption, an overall power system in most African countries is weak and unsustainable! For others, there’s no system to be found at all.
Further, the fact that both residential and industrial sectors in Africa suffer from electricity shortages, this depicts that most of its countries are literally struggling to sustain GDP growth! And so, fulfilling the economic and social prosperity of Africa lies upon the ability of its government and investors to develop the continent’s huge electricity capacity!
Looking at the diagram below, we can see that countries with electrification rates that are less than 80 % of the population consistently suffer from low GDP (per capita), and that only those having natural resources in abundance (Angola, Botswana, Gabon) and electrification rates of less than 80 %, do have a GDP greater than $3,500. And yet they still score low in terms of economic prosperity.
Now all of this leaves us to think of two key elements in determining the degree to which the power sector is favouring national development: firstly, whether people can have access to electricity, and secondly, if they do, how much are they able to consume? (Here, we’re talking about the capacity provided.)
From an electricity-access perspective, sub-Saharan Africa’s situation is the worst worldwide: With 13 % of the world’s population, and only 48 % of them having access to electricity. That makes around 600 million people lacking access to electricity. And only seven African countries (Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Senegal and South Africa) have electricity access rates exceeding 50 %, while the rest of the region has an average grid access rate of just 20 %! And even when there is access to electricity, there may not be enough to go around.
From an electricity-consumption perspective, Africa’s rates are far below everyone else. For instance, average electricity consumption in some African countries, excluding South Africa, is only about 150 kilowatt-hours per capita. That’s like a fraction of the consumption rates in Brazil or India.
Still, when we look closely, it’s obvious that there is a lot of potential for growth in the African electricity sector; one that explores how power demand is rapidly evolving, along with the associated supply requirements and costs of supplying the needed power, plus the options available to manage the expense and requirements of ensuring that new capacity is being built.
Thus, Africa has an extraordinary opportunity to boom economically in no time! All that Africa really needs, is a dynamic model of power that would enable it to do so: Electrify Network!
To be continued …
Wejden Khachaà is a Marketing/Finance Bachelor who is passionate about blockchain and it’s power to change the world.