Kagame, Kenyatta Root for Heavy Investment in Africa’s Energy Sector

Rwanda President Paul Kagame and his Kenyan counterpart, visit this Uhuru Kenyatta have called for concerted efforts among African leaders to address power shortage to unlock the continent’s potential for economic transformation.

“We need to deal with the issue of outages. Let’s not deviate – we need to improve our central infrastructure, transmission,” said President Kenyatta, adding, “We need to stop theorising but put in place practical and tangible solutions.”

The leaders are attending the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank themed “Energy and climate Change” in Lusaka, Malawi.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, just one person in five has access to electricity, according to AfDB statistics.

If current trends continue, fewer than 40 percent of African countries will reach universal access to electricity by 2050.

More than 30 African countries are now experiencing power shortages and regular interruptions in service, leading many to rely on very costly leased generating plants as an emergency stopgap.

Frequent power outages mean big losses in forgone sales and damaged equipment—6 percent of turnover on average for formal enterprises, and as much as 16 percent of turnover for informal enterprises unable to provide their own backstop generation.

The economic cost of power shortages can amount to more than 2 percent of gross domestic product. For some countries, it has shaved as much as one-quarter of a percentage point off annual per capita GDP growth rates.

President Kagame, who spoke at the opening of the Annual Meeting, said the approach to energy for Rwanda has been the right mix of off and on grid power for industries.

“The energy mix will be dictated by our needs and resources. We are tired of poverty and a bad environment and one way to deal with these two issues is to invest in industrialisation,” said Kagame.

“As leaders, we are committed to finding ways of accelerating the progress already being made. There is new momentum; we are beginning to move with a sense of urgency as a continent. Let’s continue to fix our problems and also allow our citizens to have electricity.”


The summit brings together over 2,500 participants including Heads of state and stakeholders to discuss how to tackle severe energy deficit in the continent where 650 million people don’t have access to electricity.

The meeting was preceded by the launch of the African Economic Outlook, an in-depth discussion of the state of the continent’s economies in 2016.

President Kagame also joined President Uhuru Kenyatta and AfDB President Dr. Adesina Akinwumi on a CNBC televised panel “Path to universal access to energy in Africa” on the sidelines of the 51st Annual Meetings.

Heads of State and Government at the summit included Presidents Edgar Lungu of Zambia, Idriss Deby of Chad and Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya.

Nigeria Vice-President of Nigeria Yemi Osinbajo, Prime Ministers of Tanzania and Mozambique – Kassim Majaliwa and Carlos Agostinho do Rosário respectively.

Other high-profile attendees include Akon, Kofi Annan, Aliko Dangote, Ashish Thakkar, John Kufuor, Mary Robinson, Mo Ibrahim, Nancy Lee, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Tony Elumelu, among others.

The last AfDB Annual Meeting was held in Ivory Coast.

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