Boosting Power in sub-Saharan Africa: China’s involvement in electricity
Access to electricity has proven a major impediment to economic growth in Africa. As an increasingly important investor in the region, what role has China played in tackling issues of energy poverty, and what can be done in the future?
This seminar will provide an overview of the problem of energy access in Africa, and present the findings of a newly released report by the International Energy Agency on Chinese investments in power generation on the continent.
Gabrielle Desarnaud, Research Fellow, Center for Energy, Ifri - author of Sustainable Electrification for Asia and Africa, Note de l'Ifri, March 2016
David Bénazéraf, China Programme Deputy Manager, International Energy Agency (IEA), lead author of Boosting Power in sub-Saharan Africa: China's involvement in electricity, IEA, 2016
Jean-Pierre Favennec, President, Association for the Development of Energy in Africa (ADEA)
John Seaman, Research Fellow, Center for Asian Studies, Ifri
Lack of energy access and frequent electricity shortages are major impediments to economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2015, 635 million people in the region had no access to electricity. Because the overall electrification rate remains at less than one-third of the population, the region needs increased investment in the power sector.
As part of their increasing activity in overseas markets, companies from the People’s Republic of China have significantly enhanced their engagement in Africa in the last 15 years, covering a wide range of sectors, including the electricity industry. Chinese-built projects and financial support from China are contributing to power sector development, extending energy access and facilitating economic growth.
The IEA's latest report, to be presented here, analyses China’s engagement in the sub-Saharan Africa power sector, including the key drivers underlying Chinese investments. It provides an overview of Chinese projects (generation, transmission and distribution) over the 2010-20 period in the first-ever consolidated effort to map them. It identifies the key Chinese stakeholders and assesses their impact on policy affecting energy access, economic development, technology transfers and financing modalities. Two case studies examine Chinese investment at the country level in Ghana and Ethiopia.
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