Atlantic Sentinel describes the hydro-electric projects planned for Africa that have the potential to integrate the continent and bring prosperity to its populations. Financed largely by China, new hydro projects are underway that will bring renewable energy to small portions of a single country as well as to entire regions of the continent.

Africa lacks electricity and its future growth hinges on developing a steady supply. A Chinese led boom in hydroelectric infrastructure investment is reinvigorating one of the continent’s least utilized resources which runs now at roughly 5 percent of potential.

Decades of poor maintenance and conflict that saw power lines cut have left the continent’s energy sector in a feeble state…China is currently driving this infrastructure development with nearly $10 billion in hydropower projects. Chinese financing has proven ideal for many African countries because deals can be made quicker with less red tape, no political strings attached and engineering and construction knowhow is provided. All in all, these projects are a win-win for all involved. China essentially pays itself to build these projects and Africa gets the electricity it needs to fuel continued growth.

The construction of very large dams, such as the 1870 MW Gibe III and the 5250 MW Grand Millenium in Ethiopia, have the ability to increase regional stability and integration. Africa’s economic growth has been hindered by a lack of electricity and now the prospect of a steady reliable supply is bringing leaders together.

The largest dam being planned is the Grand Inga dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This project has an estimated capacity of 40,000 MW and the potential to power more than five hundred million people across Africa. The dam would be double the size of the largest in the world presently – the Three Gorges dam in China. The entire hydropower potential in the Congo is estimated at 100,000 MW.

After years of uncertainty, South Africa and the Congo recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding that looks to finally make the Grand Inga dam a reality and may even include North African nations.

Even though many of these dams will not be producing electricity for years to come, Africa’s future gets brighter with the completion of each one.

See also Sudan Has Large Reserves of Electricity in Sudan Vision Daily.

Tags: , , , , ,