By Irene Gaitirira
Published December 18, 2017
Africa cannot accelerate growth without access to adequate energy.
Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, says under-developed energy infrastructure and growing demand could help attract more private sector investment in the energy-development sector.
To attract investment, Songwe told the 12th African Economic Conference in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, African countries must improve the governance processes for awarding contracts and licensing.
More than 600 million Africans are said to have no access to energy.
Songwe says Africa could produce more than 283 gigawatts of energy from its hydropower resources and ensure its population has access to energy.
Songwe said Africa needs around US$93 Billion per year to finance the infrastructure gap; about US$60 billion or more to finance the SDGs; US$50 billion annually to meet the cost of climate adaptation; and US$25 billion annually to achieve universal access to energy.
“While official development assistance will remain a vital source of external public finance for the poorest and most vulnerable countries, it will not be sufficient. Effective domestic resource-mobilisation will be at the core of financing sustainable development.”
Speaking about ‘the perverse effects of illicit financial flows on African economies’, Songwe said this reduces the ‘continent’s ability to achieve its goal of industrialisation as it loses US$100 Billion, which represents 4% of the continent’s gross domestic product, annually.
“Strengthening the institutional architecture designed to tackle these flows,” she said, “must be a priority for the continent.”