Sub-Saharan Africa’s impressive GDP growth rates of 6-7% in 2013, with further acceleration expected by the IMF in 2014, have been fueled by an emerging middle class, rising consumer demand, urbanization, increased investment flows, and the coming on-stream of oil, gas, and minerals in a number of countries such as Ghana, Uganda, and Kenya. As impressive as these growth rates are, it is widely accepted that poor infrastructure challenges, resulting from inadequate investment over the years, depress the growth of sub-Saharan Africa. The power sector represents the key component of infrastructure with the ability to unleash the economic potential of most sub-Saharan African countries.
Providing greater and reliable access to power is one of sub-Saharan Africa’s most pressing needs, but also one of its greatest opportunities. The region has access to tremendous energy resources, as yet largely untapped. For example, Nigeria has the world’s seventh largest gas reserves, and flares an estimated $2 billion of gas annually. Kenya has an estimated 15,000 MW of geothermal power potential, and significant oil potential which is currently being explored.