The Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Mr Kola Adesina, has said the African Continental Free Trade Area has the potential to transform the continent’s power sector through alignment of policies, tariffs, cross border manpower collaboration and fresh injection of capital.
AfCFTA is a free trade area agreement now in its operational phase among 54 of the 55 African Union nations. It is estimated that implementing AfCFTA will yield a 60 per cent increase in intra-African trade by 2022. Nigeria signed the agreement last week.
Commending President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the deal, Adesina said the AfCFTA could inspire a new wave of intra-African trade, investment and cooperation that will“propel governments and the private sector to take strategic steps towards repositioning the power industry across the continent.”
He said, “The energy sector has several components along the value chain that require interconnectivity of all stakeholders to make uninterrupted power available. With the AfCFTA, Africa now has a platform to critically reconsider harmonised major infrastructure developments as well as the aggregate contribution and enabling legislation, policies and tariffs required to shore up power supply across the continent.”
Adesina, however, highlighted the need for the continent’s political leadership to approach the implementation of the AfCFTA “with one voice and a vision that is not driven by nationalistic considerations.”
He added that the civil society should play a “balancing role to ensure the agreement serves the interest of all Africans.”
Noting that the dearth of inter-linked infrastructure continued to stifle economic growth in Africa, he said the new trade deal should pursue avenues for harnessing the strengths of all parties while maintaining the principle of equity and justice.
“Nigeria has an abundance of gas deposits. With a power plant located in Nigeria, we can develop transmission infrastructure that covers West Africa and achieve electrification of the entire region with the gas-fired plants from Nigeria.
These are some of the conversations and partnerships that I believe the AfCFTA will trigger across the continent,” he added.
Adesina said Sahara Power was already implementing and exploring several projects that would boost power supply in emerging and key markets in Africa.
Authored By: Femi Asu