Akinwumi Adesina, the new president of the African Development Bank, declared that Africa should push to achieve universal access to electricity within a decade, reported Reuters.
“Africa can easily have double-digit growth if it solved the power problem,” he said in an interview while attending an annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
He explained further that the continent could achieve full access to power by 2025, five years ahead of the date set by the US and other major donor nations.
Africa could do this, moreover, while increasing its infrastructure and industrial capacity, moving finally to a continent exporting finished goods instead of just raw materials.
The power problem has “put the breaks on Africa’s industrialization” he said, noting that Sub-Saharan Africa, with a combined population of 800 m, produces roughly the same amount of power as Spain, a country of just 46 m.
According to the Fiscal Times, he added that the Bank intends to solve these problems by increases its own investments in the energy sector “significantly” while also working with African countries to commit a larger share of tax revenue to power.
Adesina, who was originally Nigeria’s agricultural minister, has also pledged to industrialize the agricultural sector in Africa, accusing banks of holding back agricultural ventures because “they don’t understand the sector” and view it as excessively risky.