LAGOS, Nigeria – Africa’s heads of State have endorsed a pipeline of 15 priority energy projects with a combined price tag of $40.5 billion, which they say, needs to be implemented between 2012 and 2020 to lay the basis for improved energy access and further economic growth.
The project portfolio, which has been identified and selected partly on the basis of the projects’ ability to enhance cross-border energy-market development, embraces nine hydroelectricity generation developments, four transmission corridors and two pipelines, one for oil and the other for gas.
The projects formed part of the larger Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (Pida) portfolio, which has been assembled under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) banner. The other Pida projects cover the transport, water, and information communication technology infrastructure segments.
Nepad Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA) energy division head, Professor Mosad Elmissiry, said on Tuesday that the energy projects had been prioritised in line with an African Union aspiration to raise energy access across the continent to better than 60 percent by 2040.
Addressing a gathering convened to confirm NPCA’s support for the 2013 edition of the Africa Energy Indaba, which is scheduled for February 19 and 20, in Johannesburg, Elmissiry said the first 15 Pida projects had been selected from a far larger list of potential energy developments on the basis of objective criteria that embraced issues such as improving energy access, bolstering energy security and supporting regional integration.
They would, therefore, be additional to a range of other national energy initiatives and implementation responsibility would rest with participating countries. But the African Union Commission, the NPCA and the African Development Bank would facilitate fundraising efforts and would also support project implementation and monitoring.
Additional projects would be included as the rolling five-year investment framework was implemented and evolved, with the initial transmission corridors seen as playing a critical role in stimulating additional power generation projects over the medium term (2021 to 2030) and the long term (2031 to 2040), as this infrastructure would enable countries to evacuate power to areas of demand.
The four corridors included: the North-South transmission link, from Egypt to South Africa, with branches mostly into East Africa; the Central corridor, from Angola to South Africa, with branch lines into central and western Africa; a North African transmission link from Egypt to Morroco, with links via Libya, Tunisia and Algeria; and the West African Power Transmission Corridor, linking Ghana to Senegal, with branches.
The nine hydroelectric projects include the Great Millennium Renaissance dam, in Ethiopia; the Mphanda-Nkuwa project, in Mozambique; the Inga hydro projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the hydropower component of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II; the Sambangalou project, on the Gambia river; the Kaleta II, in Guinea; the Batoka Gorge project, on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border; the Ruzizi III project, in Rwanda; and the Rusumo Falls development, being pursued by Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
The two pipelines listed are the Uganda-Kenya petroleum products pipeline and the Nigeria-Algeria gas pipeline.
Elmissiry said the hydroelectricity projects had been prioritised, owing to the fact that it was a low-carbon energy source that was abundant and largely untapped. NPCA estimated that the continent was currently only exploiting seven percent of the continent’s vast hydroelectricity potential.
The goal of achieving 60 percent energy access by 2040 was premised on an economic growth rate of 6.2 percent, yearly energy demand growth of 5.7 percent and an expansion of Africa’s population from around one-billion currently to over two billion by 2050. To meet that demand, Africa’s current power capacity would need to be increased fivefold between 2012 and 2040.