According to him, one of the biggest impediments to Africa’s growth is the unavailability and erratic supply of power.
Urging governments to provide consistent energy, at the real cost, to drive growth, he said, “No power, no growth. We need to make sure we tackle the issue of power,” speaking at a panel discussion at the ongoing Development Finance Forum (DFF) in Accra.”
The development forum, organized by the World Bank Group and the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), was aimed at scaling up private sector investment in Africa.
Mr. Dangote said small businesses on the continent can never survive without stable power when the income or revenue generated is used in purchasing diesel to power and service generators.
He complained that in the status quo, generators are the source for providing consistent power and the grid is now standby although this scenario should be the direct opposite.
Dangote then cited the case of the state of Kano, with a population of 21million people, which has a power supply of less than 35megawatts from the grid.
“We must make sure that power is available, if not businesses cannot grow,” he added.
These comments come at the back of the release of a report by the World Bank declaring 32 of the 48 nations on the continent to be in an energy crisis.
The report also states that energy development has not kept pace with rising demand in developing regions, placing a large strain on the continent’s existing resources over the first decade of the new century.
From 2001 to 2005, GDP for over half of the countries in Sub Saharan Africa rose by over 4.5percent annually, while generation capacity grew at a rate of 1.2percent.
According to the World Development Report published by the World Bank in 2012, Africa’s economy is about the size of the Netherlands‘ economy, which is equivalent to only approximately six percent of the U.S. economy.
Ghana’s president Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo Addo, also speaking on at the forum on energy and power generation noted “We have encouraged majority Ghanaian private sector participation in the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the main distributor of power in Ghana, under the Millennium Challenge Compact with the U.S. Government’’.
He also touched on government’s renewal of the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and government’s efforts to move Ghana from a reliance on thermal towards renewable energy.
“Therefore, all the new PPAs will only be signed for renewable energy,” he said.
Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, touching on the Ghanaian power challenges, noted that there are two levels in fixing the power problems.
“First, we have the issue of mismanagement and secondly the inability to explore renewable options. We are trying to clear the backlog so that we can get back into decency and how we negotiate these contracts and ensure there is stable power,” he added.
The event brought together more than leaders from around the world to identify constraints and opportunities to developing.
The forum brought together 300 leaders across the world in both the private and public sector to harmonize our talents and resources as a continent for a vibrant private sector that supports infrastructure, technology, agribusiness, manufacturing and job creation.