Ghanaians are going to the polls, to decide who should lead the country over the next four years. The result is too close to call, but one thing we know for sure is that the next President will have to tackle a looming energy crisis.
Two thirds of Ghanaians now have electricity access, which is double the rate in 1990. Despite this achievement, the quality of that power is poor, with the country’s energy supply plagued by shortages and dumsor (blackouts).
The bad news for the incoming President is that, according to a leading African energy think tank, dumsor is likely to be back again in 2017.
The African Centre for Energy Policy says that low water levels at the Akosombo Dam raise questions about the ability of hydro-power to contribute to the country’s energy supply next year. They also predict gas shortages because the power companies are now heavily in debt to Ghana’s main gas suppliers.
Unpredictable power cuts put people out of work and make it impossible for businesses to grow, depriving Ghanaians of the prosperous future they deserve. Sorting this situation out has to the next President’s top priority.
The country needs to rely less on expensive imported gas from Nigeria and instead build a more resilient and diverse energy supply. Both parties have promised to banish dumsor for good. Whoever wins has to deliver.