Africa needs private energy investment: regional bank

March 14, 2011
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, CAPE TOWN, Mar 14 – Africa needs to attract private investment to its deficient power sector and create regional power pools to maximise resources, an African Development Bank official said Monday.

"We must as a matter of priority encourage private sector participation in this sector," Emannuel Nzabanita, of the bank\’s energy finance department, told a power conference.

Nearly 20 percent of Africans have access to electricity, with 30 sub-Saharan countries suffering from chronic shortages leading to forced shutdowns to ease pressure on grids that often leak power.

"We need first of all to resolve the efficiency issues and then also look for money to invest," he said.

Regional power pools should be created and countries should co-operate with neighbours, he said.

"By pooling our resources together, we are able to exploit these resources at a cheap cost," said Nzabanita.

"There must be a change. Most African countries seem to think that they can do things alone."

Africa needs large-scale infrastructure spending, requiring private investment to boost power supplies, he insisted

"The way is the private sector," including for the distribution sector, Nzabanita said, but with rural areas remaining a state responsibility.

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