South Africa’s electricity sector has faced a series of challenges over the last two decades. It started with inadequate grid infrastructure to provide electricity to the majority of the South African population in the 1990s. In 1994, only 36% of total households were electrified; 50% of the urban population and 12% of the rural population.
Particularly in the middle of the 2000s, the national utility, Eskom, ran into liquidity and profitability problems. It received frequent government bailouts. The 2022 national budget allocated R21.9 billion (about US$1.5 billion) to Eskom.
“Africa has an advantage that it has never had before. The cheapest electricity in the world today, is daytime solar in Africa.
If we have the potential for the cheapest electricity, we also have the potential for the cheapest transportation. 40 percent of the national reserves of foreign currencies are used to purchase and import petroleum products. If a large amount of that cost is alleviated in African countries, it creates a system that is immune to fossil fuel-based inflation.”
Kenya is well ahead of its neighbors in the region when it comes to infrastructure, but we still have a long way to go to catch up with developed countries. Our country has seen a boom in infrastructure projects nationwide spearheaded by the current regime. Even with the coming of the pandemic, we have continued with a flow of projects.
With issues like rising food and petroleum prices coming up, there could be fewer funds available for projects. Life must move on though because we will still need to build infrastructure. So we plan to be adaptable to changing economic and political times.