Africa needs almost R5.5trn ($450bn) investment in the energy sector to reduce power outages by half and achieve energy excess in urban areas, former acting Eskom CEO Zethembe Khosa told an energy conference in Cape Town on Tuesday.
“We are open for business because electricity will create freedom for our people,” Khosa, who returned to the Eskom board after a short stint as acting CEO after Tshediso Matona was suspended, told the African Utility Week.
He was speaking on behalf of acting Eskom CEO Brian Molefe, who was briefing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on developments at the state utility. Molefe is expected to attend the rest of the week-long conference.
“As we continue to electrify Africa, we are creating future markets for investments,” Khosa said. “New markets will bring new potentials. Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy has risen by 45% in the last 15 years.
“We are inviting investors who share our vision of a self-determined Africa to unlock the potential of the African people.”
Africa’s New Deal
Africa needed a Franklin Roosevelt-inspired New Deal to electrify the continent to reduce inequality and end poverty, said Khosa, explaining that “75% of the poorest countries in the world are in Africa”.
“Poverty is the antithesis of freedom and equality,” he said. “It is the underlying strife of people. In South Africa, people are turning against each other in xenophobic attacks.
“We need to work together towards a New Deal where electricity plays a part to reduce inequality and lack of freedom,” he said.
A drop in the ocean
Khosa said the South African independent power producer (IPP) programme had attracted R1.8trn ($150bn) in foreign direct investment, which contributed 1 500 MW to the energy grid.
“$450bn is only 3% of total global energy investment that exists,” he said. “A New Deal must incorporate ways of further cooperating in the region to attract further foreign direct investment.”
Khosa applauded the success of the Southern Africa Power Pool that celebrated its 20 year anniversary this year. “We have seen facilitation of socio-economic integration,” he said.