Huge hydropower opportunities in Africa

04/10/2006
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Huge hydropower opportunities in Africa

Indicators show that the sub-Saharan Africa suffers from an endemic lack of infrastructure. In the energy sector, the per 1000 persons installed capacity is very low, being one-tenth of the figure for Europe.

The per capita consumption is also very low with a wide range of variations between the countries in the region. Botswana has the highest per capita consumption with 950 kWh per capita,while Burkina Faso ranks amongst the lowest with 19 kWh per capita. On the contrary, France has a per capita consumption of 6850 kWh and Greece 4575 kWh, with the worldwide weighted average being in the range of 2750 kWh per capita.

"Despite a significant practicable hydropower potential, Africa has only tapped less than 8% of it at the term of 2000", said AfDB Lead Infrastructure Officer, Roger Gaillard, during the Hydro 2006 conference which was held in Greece from September 25-28.

According to him, the hydroelectricity sector has recently gained a lot of interest given escalating energy prices over the last years. He indicated that the potential to meet increasing demand for energy across the globe was available in developing countries, including African countries.

The conference which brought together key global players of the hydro-electricity sector was attended by more than 65 countries.

The AfDB representatives, Roger Gaillard and Youssef Arfaoui, Renewable Energy Specialist, presented the Bank’s activities and financial instruments that could be used to develop hydroelectricity in Africa.

AfDB delegates delivered key messages regarding the continent, especially on the need to promote the private sector’s participation in the development of the hydro-electricity sector referred to in the final statement of inter-ministerial conference held in March 2006 in Johannesburg.


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