The effect of energy on an economy has been dramatically illustrated in SA in recent months following a spate of load-shedding reportedly costing in the region of R2bn a day. The energy crisis, including the problems at Eskom, has further dampened investor confidence in the country at a time when the government urgently needs foreign capital, amid ballooning debt and an unsustainable budget deficit. It is hard to believe under such circumstances that SA is one of the lucky ones. Power shortages and blackouts are routine in the majority of African nations. Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding SA) has the lowest electrification rate in the world, with up to 60% of the population still without access to electricity. The World Bank highlights that the entire installed generation capacity of Africa’s 48 Sub-Saharan countries is less than that of Spain or South Korea. As much as one-quarter of that capacity is unavailable because of ageing plants and poor maintenance. And if we were to combine t...

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