Energy to top the African Development Bank’s agenda

The FT reports:

Akinwumi Adesina, who took over as president of Africa’s lead development lender in September, has said that his flagship project aims to raise $55bn of investment to close the energy deficit in the next decade.

He says the bank will take a leadership role, coordinating with existing multinational initiatives and pushing member states to move faster to privatise and liberalise their energy sectors.

More on this here.

The paper also has a neat report on African economies’ adjustment to China’s slowdown, US pension funds’ move into the PE space in Africa, the grievances that fuel extremism in Africa, among others.

Full report is here (unfortunately, gated).

Energy in East Africa

Still on my ongoing project on commodities in Africa, I came across an interesting piece on prospecting for oil in East Africa in which an industry expert had this to say:

The success rate in this region is outstanding. To provide some context, oil and gas exploration typically has a success rate just 10-20%. That’s terrible when you think about. It can cost $50 million to sink an offshore well, and the chance of making a financial return could be as low as one in ten.

But East Coast African energy exploration stands out from the crowd because in all but a few cases they hit oil or gas. To be exact — the success rate has been 87%. A strike rate of close to 9 out of 10 is almost unheard of.

Kenya, South Sudan and Uganda have commercially viable oil reserves. Tanzania has gas and, together with Kenya, has stepped up offshore prospecting in the Indian ocean.

And it is not just foreign MNCs that are in on the game. Locals, in collaboration with foreign investors, are also getting a piece of the energy bonanza in East Africa. Business Daily, a Kenyan paper, recently profiled one George Kariithi, a businessman who started off as a marketing executive and has since built multiple companies in the wider region. His latest investment is in Kenya’s emerging coal sector.

power cuts!! oh no!!

Just as I thought that my stay in Botswana was going to be such a nice ride, I was rudely reminded of where I was by an unexpected power cut. Yes, I was trying to cook dinner while watching some show on the travel channel when the lights went out. With no torch (flashlight, as some call it) or candles I was forced to cook with my ipod, phone and camera as the only sources of light available. Luckily the lights came just as I started having my dinner. It was not a pleasant experience though.

After talking to people in the know I was told that this is a regular thing that happens to select neighborhoods between seven and nine. I was also told that Botswana, lacking any powerplants, buys its power from the neighboring states.

But I just can’t stop wondering why the government hasn’t managed to build enough power generation capacity to satisfy its less than 2 million people – and with all the diamond dollars. Just how hard can it be?