"We lose 5 percent of our potential GDP every year, and African industries cannot be competitive without access to electricity," says Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, a finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and social progress of African countries. "I believe that's why we can't break away from reliance on exporting our raw materials - new industries will only go to where there’s power."
The bank's aim is to raise $12bn for the continent for something that it is calling, "The New Deal on Energy for Africa." To do so, the financial institution is streamlining the process to invest in Africa and for foreign companies to do business there. The notion of colonial interests running roughshod over domestic peoples has become outdated and is giving way to the real need for outside investment to help modernized the continent.
During the peak of the global economic crisis, Africa experienced 6-percent economic growth. That's still occurring and it's amazing given that there are more than 600 million there without access to electricity. Electrification holds the key to economic development there.
The financing, overall, remains a function of African governments privatizing their economies and ridding of them of corruption - things that give investors better odds. And beyond that, the roads and railways within Africa are tough to traverse, which means that such infrastructure must first be laid out so that power plants and distribution systems can get built.
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