A look at the electrical power industry in Africa reveals a number of trends common to most African countries. Privatisation and restructuring of government-owned power companies has been a feature of almost every country’s governmental policy over the last ten years.
Power shortages and irregularities have forced many countries to look to neighbours to supplement their supply, with regional networks and power pools arising as a result. Power shortages have also brought a number of new projects to the fore, with large multinational power companies establishing a growing presence, particularly as natural gas discoveries have made combined-cycle plants competitive economically
Additionally, the biggest challenge facing sub-Saharan African countries today is to reach a sustainable rate of positive economic growth that will enable them to cope with soaring demographic and urban growth.
In a bid to stimulate a genuine dynamic of development and to rise above the economic, social, political, and environmental crises that have beset the region more or less permanently since the late 1970s, the countries of the region together with the support of multilateral institutions introduced several sectoral reforms.
Among these reforms that are power sub-sector related, which were, as analysed by energy experts, aimed at improving financial and technical efficiency of utilities, facilitating divestiture and guaranteeing future electricity supply in an open globalised energy market.
According to the World Bank, Africa’s largest infrastructure deficit is in the power sector. Whether measured in terms of generation capacity, electricity consumption, or security of supply. Africa’s power infrastructure delivers only a fraction of the service found elsewhere in the developing world. The 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa (with a combined population of 800 million) generate roughly the same amount of power as Spain (with a population of 45 million). The development of Africa’s electrical power sector is a prerequisite for growth in other industries.
The power sector currently seeks to achieve positive outcome in the effective implementation of the reforms, as this is very critical to the economic, social and environmental development of Nigeria as a country.
Experts and analysts in the sector however point out that For Nigeria to come close to achieving its goal of 40000MW by 2020, it will require alternative sources of power, rather than just being dependent on gas and hydro plants. Nonetheless, in all of these enormous challenges affecting the power sector, there is respite for Nigerians as the successful implementation of these reforms would bring about sustainable change for development in the power sector.