- Niger government has sealed a deal with China to upgrade the country’s power supplies. Niger which sources most of its power from Nigeria had several black outs since January due to systems collapse in Nigeria.
In the deal aimed at improving Niger’s power supplies, China - which is currently the main investor in uranium mining in the country - will transfer electrical power units to Niger.
Niger’s head of power plant in capital Niamey Mr Hamidu Mamudu, said the new equipment would help increase production of electric power by about 30% for the Niamey region saying equipment will also increase power output between 50 and 60 megawatts.
An official from Niger's state power company confirmed that state has set aside funds and authorities in power-company were traveling to Asia to purchase new parts to revamp Niger's ageing power infrastructure.
Niger government has also set aside US$4m for short-term improvements to the country's power grid, to meet amongst others increasing power demand, especially since Niger began major mining explorations.
Niger is not the only Africa country which has been battling with power outages since January this year which has largely been blamed on poor governance as opposed to lack of capital.
Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki last month urged African nations to create functional regional power grids to end systemic blackouts that have wrecked Africa’s thirst for economic growth.
He asked African governments to stop appointing people who could be easily manipulated to the helm of state utilities, but to consider them on merit and performance if Africa commits to confront power crisis head on.
A World Bank survey released last month showed that Kenya's supply interruptions hurt its ability to attract and nurture investments, with the country’s power outages accounting for the highest component of indirect costs to firms at 8 percent.
Although many African countries have formed power pools which barely function, the continent is still grappling with shortages, with Africa's economic powerhouse South Africa as one of the countries facing serious power supply challenges.
In reducing the impact of current power crisis, and mitigating its impact on business and economy, other Africa states like Lesotho had committed to reduce power demand in the country by 12 percent in December this year at the 30th Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) Management Committee meeting held in Maseru this year.
SADC power pool has some of the most promising power solutions, such as the multi-billion Grande Inga in the Congo basin, but due to political instability and security issues, leading to bleak confidence to investments, such schemes may not be exploited to full capacity.
The International Energy Agency forecasts 584 million people of which 526 million of them in Africa will be without electricity by 2030, even as the continent's power demand skyrocket amid expanding economic activities.
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