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FG targets $10bn annual investment in power sector

By on May 9, 2013

President Goodluck Jonathan said Wednesday in Cape Town, South Africa that following the total privatisation of power generation and distribution in the country, his administration expected an annual private sector investment of about $10bn in the sector over the next 10 years.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on Africa, which opened on Wednesday in the South African city, Jonathan said having realised that the government alone could not build the infrastructure that the country needed; it had completed the biggest transfer of power assets in Africa to private investors.

The President said to speedily overcome the infrastructural deficit that limited the pace of economic development, Nigeria and other African countries must find innovative ways of funding essential infrastructure in areas such as power supply, energy and communications.

He identified poor infrastructure as the major problem hindering Africa from realising its full economic potential as a continent, adding that the poor state of infrastructure and low connectivity on the continent were responsible for the low level of inter-regional trade.

Jonathan said, “Inadequate and poor infrastructure in Africa remains a major constraint to the continent’s realisation of its full economic potential. Due to the relatively poor infrastructure and low connectivity on the continent, we have the lowest level of inter-regional trade.

“While we account for about 12 per cent of the world’s population, our share of global trade is just about two per cent. This is also a reflection of the fact that our economies are less diversified compared to other global regions.”

He observed that in the last decade, Africa had come a long way from being mainly associated with economic stagnation, high inflation, high external debts and civil strife.

The President said the situation had changed due to significant macroeconomic, structural, and political reforms, putting economic growth on the continent at an average of five per cent annually in the last 10 years.

Jonathan, however, said despite the recent economic growth success story of the continent, infrastructure deficit across transport, energy and communication remained binding constraints to further growth acceleration, ability to compete and poverty reduction.

He argued that poor infrastructure served as additional burden and cost to businesses in Africa, making it difficult for them to compete.

To effectively tackle these challenges, diversify economies, reduce poverty and provide employment opportunities for the continent’s youth population, he said nations on the continent must build necessary infrastructure in Africa across transport, communication and energy sectors.

He said over the course of the past decade, African stakeholders had recognised the need to plug the gaps in infrastructure on the continent.