O c t o b e r  2 0 1 4 — Volume 22, Issue 10
The GENI-us Letter

GENI-us Letter 2014-10

Africa — Still The Dark Continent

Dear GENI Friend,

http://www.globalconreview.com/client_media/imagecontent/left2000africa_enlightened_final_no_text_7_2.jpgThree countries in Africa are reeling from the Ebola crisis -- and nearly all African nations are challenged. In terms of electricity it remains the Dark Continent. Africa has 49 countries, with a total population of 1.1 billion. 70% of the people have no access to electricity.

Additionally, the generating equipment, substations and grids of these countries are often in need of repair or replacement, which means that available power is well below installed capacity: in countries that have suffered civil war, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), only 48% of installed capacity finds its way to a plug socket. (Global Construction Review)

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 80% of families cook by burning wood or other biomass and lighting is by oil lamps. If lucky, they have electricity from expensive diesel generators.

The recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) Africa Energy Outlook report states "poor electricity infrastructure is a key impediment to growth." Optimistically, the IMF does project that 2 out of 3 investment dollars will produce energy in the coming decades, with a target of achieving 2/3rds electrification on the continent by 2040.

The world is rightly focused on west Africa's Ebola crisis, and it's clear from TV images that lack of health care systems makes matters worse. Many clinics have no consistent lighting, refrigeration or clean water. We know how to build clean energy systems that "provide the cornerstone for poverty reduction and economic growth." We can either avert our eyes or step up with money, expertise, training and compassion.

In Partnership for the Planet,

Peter MeisenGENI's 25th Anniversary Seal -- 1987-2012
Peter Meisen

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Updated: 2014/03/22

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