Videre Global are at the forefront of innovative renewable power generation. Developing efficient public-private partnerships providing the perfect solution for confronting the major challenge of sub-saharan Africa’s energy deficiency.

Demand for electricity in sub-Saharan Africa is growing fast – driven primarily by economic growth and by policies for widening access to electricity – and yet production capacity has developed very little since the 1990s. Even today only 30% of the population has access to electricity – compared with 80% worldwide – and the economies of many African countries are severely disadvantaged by the quality and quantity of electricity at their disposal. The economies of Tanzania and Uganda, for example, lose an estimated 4% to 6% of GDP every year to power cuts. Now the international community is starting to take action to remedy this situation. Having been completely overlooked in the Millennium Development Goals, energy is now a priority for the UN and the EU, through the Sustainable Energy for All programme – which aims to increase access to energy while growing the proportion of renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.

According to estimates, production capacity would need to be boosted by around 7,000 megawatts every year from 2005 to 2015 in order to meet unsatisfied demand. This would require an annual investment of around USD 40 billion – whereas current investment is estimated at just USD 4.6 billion per year. Private investment in electricity production is one of the solutions to increase the financial resources available and improve performance in the electricity sector. Yet independent producers still represent just a tiny fraction of the players operating in this sector.

This issue of Private Sector & Development explores the benefits – and the requirements – of increased intervention in electricity production by the private sector. How have independent power generation projects established in Africa fared to date? What are the main obstacles in the way of their growth? Can private projects help to facilitate a shift towards renewable energies? Developing efficient public-private partnerships would seem to be the best – indeed perhaps the only – solution for confronting the major challenge of sub-Saharan Africa’s energy deficit.

Main article ectracts from Claude Périou, Chief executive officer of PROPARCO.