In 2019, Ghana paid an estimated $620 million for electricity that the country did not need or use. That’s a sign of the damage done by secret deals for power.
CGD Policy Blogs
Providing reliable electricity is complex and expensive: large power plants can be billion-dollar investments. As a result, a growing number of cash-strapped developing countries are signing power purchase agreements with electricity providers to shift investment costs to the private sector.
Most people accept that we will only achieve sustainable energy patterns with a substantial investment in research and development, but where the research will take place and where energy will be consumed doesn’t necessarily match up. Within 25 years, non-OECD countries will account for two-thirds of global energy consumption. To that end, the climate and energy challenge is primarily about finding ways to bring clean energy to Rio and Lagos, not to San Francisco or Berlin.
I’m in full agreement with Todd that it’s great the Obama administration is focusing on energy in Africa (or at least, telling Ex-Im and OPIC to focus on energy in Africa). Todd spent a good deal of time in 2012–13 encouraging White House to make the issue a signature US foreign policy concern, blogging about it here and here, and supporting the ONE Campaign’s efforts to make it happen, so kudos to him, too. But Todd begins his post by noting his previous frustration with the White House for dropping the ball on Africa policy. My concern with this latest initiative is the reverse—too many balls.