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AfDB expresses concern over Africa’s energy shortage

by Business News Report

African Development Bank (AfDB) has expressed concern that the continent’s energy deficit remains large in spite of remarkable achievements in continental development.
The view is contained in the fifth edition of the bank’s Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) issued at its 50th Anniversary and Annual General Meeting in Abidjan.
The publication, posted on the bank’s website, is part of a series produced by the bank’s Quality Assurance and Result’s Department. It states that 70 per cent of the bank’s indicators are on track. It provides an overview of Africa’s development achievements and trends, reviews the bank’s contribution to development results and looks at how well it manages its operations and own organisation.
“While acknowledging that Africa is making gradual progress, the report notes that the continent’s energy deficit remains very large. The overall electrification rate increased from 38 per cent in 2005 to 42 per cent in 2013, even as populations grew at a faster rate.
“Average electricity consumption also edged up from 666 to 690 KWh/year. However, Africa is still far behind other developing regions, ’’ the publication states.

The review indicates that AfDB is contributing to the energy sector in Africa.
“The bank’s approach to supporting the energy sector has evolved over the years. The 1994 Energy Sector Policy concentrated primarily on institutional reforms and capacity development in the energy sector, with the goal of helping to unlock private investment.
“We helped to improve pricing policies, management practices and maintenance regimes,” it further states. The report states that after a few years, “it became clear that p1rivate investment was not forthcoming, and therefore the bank decided to support its regional member countries by scaling up its investments in major infrastructure development.
“For the past two decades, some 12 per cent of AfDB investments have gone into the energy sector. Most went towards building national generation capacity and distribution networks, with an emphasis on rural electrification to promote inclusive growth.’’
Since 2009, the bank has contributed to financing more than 1,900mw of new generation capacity and over 15,000 km of transmission lines, according to the review.
“Through these efforts, we have provided 567,000 people with new electricity connections and over 14 million people with improved access to electricity,’’ the review states. Pursuant to the bank’s two-prong objectives of inclusive growth and transition to green growth, the review notes that AfDB has provided 32 billion dollars in lending, knowledge and advisory services. It adds that the bank plans to set up centres of excellence in biomedical science and engineering to build human capital for the continent.

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