emPOWER Africa – Part 2: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining: It’s Called Mauritius!

emPOWER Africa – Part 2: Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining: It’s Called Mauritius!

In the previous emPower Africa article, we talked about how Africa is trembling its way to economic growth, and we came to the conclusion of developing the energy sector being Africa’s ticket to economic and social prosperity, or more properly a better Africa, and that a better Africa would only happen if both government and investors unite efforts to develop the continent’s huge electricity capacity/need.

Now this might seem very difficult — some would even think it’s impossible — I mean: we’re talking about a continent with 600 million people who lack access to electricity — that’s insane!

Well, hold on “pessimistic” people, we have thought of you! Because in this article we are bringing-up a success story inside Africa: the Mauritius miracle or “how to make a big success of a small economy”.

Availing a political stability, a good governance record and an open/flexible regulatory system, Mauritius is also known for being one of the few countries in the world adhering to what we call: the “transitioning” energy generation model!

What kind of “transition” are we talking about? Haven’t you heard yet?

The world is transitioning from an industrial age model of electricity generated from large-scale power plants (the current model used in most countries) to a blended energy model that includes distributed electricity generation from both local and regional renewable energy projects. Still, not all countries are going with this flow; some are faster than others in implementing this new energy model, and Mauritius is definitely one of the fastest!

In fact, the government’s energy policy in Mauritius is very eco-friendly as it highly promotes the use of renewable and clean energy to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels and lower greenhouse gas emissions whose effects are disastrous (read our article “Why Green Energy?” to know more).

The government also has quite an impressive roadmap for its energy generation model by increasing the use of renewable sources of energy from 22% (current percentage) to 35% by 2025. It is willing to do so through launching wind farms, solar energy, biomass and waste-to-energy projects. Mauritius is currently deriving its renewable electricity generation from hydro, wind, landfill gas and solar while maintaining bagasse (sugarcane waste) as primal source of renewable energy (16%) with a total contribution of 22 % in the primary energy supply.

Besides, the Mauritian government is constantly looking for international competitive bidding to carry out its energy projects and is concentrating a “joint-ventures” strategy by encouraging joint ventures between the local private sector and international firms: by combining the local competence with the foreign expertise the country is hoping to meet its development objectives for the energy sector by 2025 and to be one step closer to the futuristic energy model.

Moreover, The Central Electricity Board (CEB), the main power utility in Mauritius, stated that it’s planning to upgrade the grid absorption capacity of intermittent energy from 148 MW to160 MW by 2018.

Hang on! We have more!

The government is also undertaking major legal and institutional reforms in the power sector. For instance, in 2016 the Mauritian government created MARENA (The Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency) as a way to assert that it is taking the development of renewable energy very seriously. Later, in 2017 the government created a Utility Regulatory Authority to regulate and control electricity, potable water and wastewater. Another accomplishment is the “Energy Efficiency Act” that is aimed to perform product labeling operations plus the importation of specialised energy efficient equipment.

If we go on, we could end-up writing a whole journal of the numerous achievements of Africa’s most competitive economy: Mauritius, so we will end the article by posting a list of sub-sectors in renewable energy generation in which Mauritius is definitely the leader:

sourceMinistry of Energy & Public Utilities

Still think emPOWERING Africa is impossible? Well think again!

Wejden Khachaà is a Marketing/Finance Bachelor who is passionate about blockchain and it’s power to change the world.

emPOWER Africa – Part 1: The Need

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.