Ameliorating Africa’s Energy Shortfall

Africa and Asia: The Key Issues

China is helping significantly to reduce sub-Saharan Africa’s crippling energy shortages. By constructing myriad hydroelectric production facilities across Africa, by building high-tension transmission lines from north to south, and by helping at least one country to convert sunshine into power, China is playing a major role in relieving a major developmental weakness.

All of sub-Saharan Africa – forty-nine countries with nearly 1 billion people – boasts a daily electrical power generation capacity that is less than Spain’s. A medium-sized midwestern American city produces more power than Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation. Even comparatively well-off South Africa, the continent’s most modern and best-equipped state, this summer (winter south of the equator) is experiencing daily blackouts, or purposeful “load shedding” disruptions of normal life. Industry everywhere, even in South Africa, suffers from power weaknesses, as do the daily lives of millions.

That is why the dozens of dams that African countries are…

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