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Africa’s energy problems threaten growth, says Nepad CEO

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Africa’s energy problems threaten growth, says Nepad CEO

12th November 2009

By: Esmarie Swanepoel
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

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Africa's economic growth would be stifled unless the energy challenges experienced by most African countries were tackled and resolved, the New Partnership for Africa's Development (Nepad) CEO, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki said.

He said at a conference this week that Africa was facing an energy challenge.

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"Energy availability is critical for economic growth. With the electrification density of sub-Saharan Africa only 25%, it is obvious that economic growth would be stifled unless this issue is tackled head on."

He noted that the African energy gap, by many estimates, amounted to $25-billion, and that funding streams and options were very limited for African countries.

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"Attracting more private sector investment is one option, but that requires the right mix of incentives and measures which African countries could offer. We are fully aware that the preeminent requirement is macro-economic stability," said Mayaki.

He added that the involvement of the private sector to build Africa's energy infrastructure was a necessity. However, this was made difficult by various factors such as poor legal and regulatory environments, underdeveloped capital markets, difficult fiscal regime and other uncertainties such as complicated bureaucratic procedures.

The deputy secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mario Amano said that although Africa was endowed with massive energy potential, progress in expanding electricity generation had been slow, with many countries being besieged by power shortages.

Amano challenged delegates attending the conference to ensure that their discussions identify impediments to investing in the energy sector, as well as ways and means of addressing them.

The Africa Investment Initiative Conference was organised by Nepad and the OECD, and hosted by the Department of Trade and industry and the Department of Science and Technology.

 

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