By: Olajide Toriola
Foremost industrialist and President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote yesterday told the audience at the World Economic Forum (WEF) holding in Davos Switzerland that a joint effort between government and private sector to tackle the power deficit remained a key element in boosting the economy of Africa.
Dangote, who also spoke about his efforts at contributing to lightening up Africa starting from Nigeria was one of the panelists at a discussion on closing the power gap in Africa organized by the CNBC, a renowned Satellite Business Television Channel.
The businessman man also advised African governments to imbibe policy consistency and avoid summersault which he said often times scuttle the business plan of investors and discourages others from investing in the sector.
Dangote who is investing heavily in power with his $12 billion refinery and petrochemical project said part of his project in Lagos is laying of sub-sea gas pipeline from Niger Delta to Lagos to provide 3 billion cubic feet of gas that can generate 12, 000 mw of electricity.
Other panelists at the discussion include, Mr. Akinwunmi Adesina, President of African Development Bank, Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa and Special Representative of the United Nation, Rachel Kyte.
Dangote said government must galvanized the private sector in the provision of stable power in Africa “and that at the end it would be a win-win situation because when power is available a lot of people will put to work and government revenue will also increase”
According to him, his company signed a $5 billion collaborative agreement with Blackstone to generate power and that while the private sector is investing, the role of government would be to provide the operational framework and conducive environment for the investment to thrive.
He stated that given the abundance of resources needed to generate power like gas and coal which he said the continent is blessed with.
The business mogul explained that the twin evil that have the bane of low power in Africa are the lack of credible master plan and inefficient regulatory agencies saying of these challenges could be tackle genuinely, Africa will be on the way out of darkness.
ADB President, Adesina said his organization as multi-lateral funding agency is tired of seeing Africa in darkness and has gone in to several funding intervention to ensure African countries get out of darkness fast because lack of power is a major impediment to the growth of her economy.
He said the power sector in Africa is in need massive reform and that the private sector, the government and the multilateral funding institutions should come together to effect it. He stated that the ADB was ready to lead in the task.
While urging Nigeria to diversify the power mix as suggested by the South Africa deputy President, Adesina disclosed that Africa would need to inject between $45 and $50 billion to take her out of darkness.