The African statistic – it’s more than numbers

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Africa is a space where energy and infrastructure investment can transform agriculture, industry and services, where potential is the driver and financial resources the catalyst. When examining the statistics that sit around the African power conundrum, many papers have highlighted how crumbling infrastructure along with conflict, high costs and limited funding are slowing the development of the landscape. At Black Rhino we believe that the African statistic isn’t a cause for concern, but rather blueprint for success.

Energy Economics (revised Feb 2013), points out that the average number of power outages during a typical month in Sub-Saharan Africa was 10.5, each with an average length of around 6.6 hours, for a total of nearly 70 hours of outages per month. And that is for the places that actually have a power connection. The same paper concluded that it takes around 100 years to close just half of the gap to the steady state after a shock to the economy. That’s a daunting statistic, but not as much as the one highlighted by Africa Energy Outlook, a Focus on Energy prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa, by the International Energy Agency.

According to the latter report, there are more than 620 million people living without access to electricity and over 700 million are using dangerous or inefficient methods of cooking. The African energy sector is failing to meet the needs of its people. It’s unreliable and expensive, often limited in scope and with many communities living kilometres away from the nearest grid access point.

However, these are just statistics. Numbers. They don’t touch on the impressive positive growth that the continent is currently undergoing, nor do they show how the outlook is changing. The challenge may be immense, but it is not insurmountable. According to the World Bank’s Africa Overview 2014, Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth saw moderate growth in 2014 with a projected GDP growth by up to 5.1% over the 4.6% from last year. Nigeria is touted as a strong space with growth expected to stay at robust levels and Ethiopia has averaged an economic growth of 10.7% over the past 10 years, more than double the annual average of its Sub-Saharan counterparts. Imagine the possibilities in growth rate numbers if infrastructures are improved and crafted with sustainability in mind? It’s a compelling time to invest.

Black Rhino’s belief is that the African statistic is a map to opportunity. If 70% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa sits without electricity, and road access is only at 34%, there is abundant scope for us to transform and develop. We’ve formed some impressive partnerships that are allowing us to address these issues with projects that deliver more than just a singular, direct impact on one area. Our projects tap into long-term community and economic growth across sectors and countries, perhaps better described as pathways to thoughtful transformation.

The potential is there, and our promise will not disappoint. Our philosophy relies on proven vendors, suppliers and relationships to build sustainable solutions with lasting and positive impact. It’s an invigorating time for Africa, and we are excited to be at the vanguard with solutions in play, projects in mind and Africa’s potential on our radar. Currently Black Rhino Group is working on sustainable projects in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Mozambique – our goal to become the most impactful private sector player in Africa’s energy infrastructure over the next 20 years already set in motion.

 

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