Africa: Electrification of Africa Essential, Says PM

Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos Agostinho do Rosario on Tuesday said that the electrification of Africa is an essential component for industrialization and for development in general.

He was speaking in Lusaka, at a round table held as part of the Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank (ADB), at which he is representing President Filipe Nyusi.

Rosario called for joint efforts on electrification. “Access to energy for the public, access to energy for agriculture and for industrialization, is a challenge that cannot be overcome by one country acting alone”, he said.

Instead, it was a complex matter that required “concerted and very strong interventions” from the entire continent. Thus African countries should work together in attracting investment and financing, in the commercial area, in legal and regulatory aspects, and in the adoption of policies and strategies.

“All investment requires financing, and all financing requires project viability”, said Rosario. “When we act together, the viability of projects is easier”.

He called for balanced electricity tariffs, calculated on a “win-win” basis, in which there are gains both for the companies that generate, transmit and distribute electrical power, and for the end consumers.

“On the legal side, we must work so that we have legislation that promotes public-private partnerships”, the Prime Minister said.

Rosario explained that the known electricity potential of Mozambique is “117 gigawatts from gas, 56 gigawatts from coal and 18 gigawatts from hydropower”. But the figures are theoretical – putting them into reality depends on finance, time and environmental impact studies. It would, for example, still take a long time to bring into use the natural gas reserves discovered recently in the Rovuma Basin, off the coast of the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Improved technologies needed to be mobilised, he added, to ensure that damage to the environment is reduced to a minimum.

Speaking at a Lusaka press conference, Rosario said that the target to ensure Mozambican electrification is 450,000 new connections per year up until 2025. This is an enormous task which will cost around 500 million US dollars a year.

The ADB itself announced, at the opening of the annual meeting that, over the next five years, it will invest 12 billion US dollars in the African energy sector. Rosario praised this initiative, and added “we must be prepared to see what are the mechanisms for access to these funds so that we can apply for them and make our programmes viable”.

Source: Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique.