Investment in Africa’s energy sector is essential to unlock the continent’s potential

Investment in Africa’s energy sector is essential to unlock the continent's potential

Investment in energy supplies and infrastructure is essential for the development of Africa, which is set to see its population grow to 2 billion by 2050 – over half of the global population.

Africa has incredible economic prospects but a lack of access to electricity is preventing it from reaching its potential.

According to an International Energy Agency (IEA) report, there are close to 600 million people on the continent living without access to electricity and a huge amount living on the edge of poverty.

Secure supplies and infrastructure would provide a significant step in reducing this number, but current levels of investment are too low and are far from the estimated $1.5 trillion needed between now and 2050 to enhance Africa’s power sector.

Funding for power stations and electricity grids are essential in lifting the most vulnerable out of poverty and providing opportunities for African economies to grow.

In an opinion piece for The Financial Times, Nick Butler a Visiting Professor at King’s College London, said: “Access to energy provides the first step in the ladder of development — without heat, light or mobility there is little chance of an escape from poverty.”

If the World Bank and the western world want to regain credibility they must listen to developing countries and lift restrictions on the one thing that we know for sure delivers economic growth: affordable, reliable baseload electricity.