Power is Africa's largest infrastructure challenge and more than 30 countries across the continent regularly experience outages. Utilities are forced to obtain power from expensive generation sources such as emergency power (power generated by diesel or heavy fuel oil) at a cost which has to be subsidised for it to be affordable by the local population.
While global demand for power is set to grow by more than 50% over the next 30 years, African utilities struggle with operational inefficiencies, distribution losses, non-collection of revenues, bloated staffing and under-pricing of power, all of which negatively influence investment in electrification and new capacity. The power sector faces a funding gap of over US$23b (R 203.5) a year.
A common response to the immediate crisis, ESI-Africa
says, is to tender short-term leases for emergency power. Unlike traditional power generation projects, this capacity can be put in place in a few weeks, providing a rapid response to pressing shortages.
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