Germany has strong economic ties with Africa, especially regarding energy supplies.
by Ayele Addis Ambelu : email@example.com
Africa’s energy sector has achieved great success over the years. However, according to the website of Germany’s Ministry of Economic and Development Cooperation, 590 million people in sub-Saharan Africa still have no electricity. When the sun sets, the whole area is engulfed in darkness. This problem is not only in sites where electricity is not maintained but also in cities where there is no “power outage” now and then. Even now, in most countries south of the Sahara, 80 percent of the people cook their food with wood and charcoal.
It is said that the population has increased by two percent every year, and the economy has recorded a growth of 7 percent, which is the reason for the increase in Africa’s energy demand. However, considering the market, the power lines to be laid and the power plants to be built could not be matched. For Africa to provide sufficient electricity to its people, African countries will work together with the African Union to expand the infrastructure of energy sources. In this, Germany plays the most significant role. Germany’s Ministry of Economic and Development Cooperation works with 18 sub-Saharan African countries. At the 8th German-African Energy Demand and Supply Forum held last week in Hamburg, Germany, the possibilities for Germany to invest in energy sources in Africa were raised. When discussing power options, it is essential to look back at the past. DesertTech’s idea to generate renewable energy from sun-drenched deserts is worth mentioning. Although the organization was founded years ago, it did not show much success. Instead, the Chinese have left to invest here. What is the reason why the plan did not materialize? “Germany’s Economic Involvement in Southern Africa” is a question submitted by Andreas Wenzel, Manager of Brief Safari, from Deutsche Welle.
“It’s hard to tell from a distance. However, we have noticed that there is not enough support for Africa from the political capital of Berlin in Germany’s efforts so far. There are many examples of this, especially in the area of projects. DesertTech is one of them. Although the German government received DesertTech well, he did not get political and diplomatic support. This being the case, it is clear that the projects will not be implemented publicly in areas of Africa where there is political pressure, for example, in North Africa. And without political support, they can’t do anything.”
Germany has bilateral relations with Africa. In Berlin, there is a lot of talk about African politics. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently returned from a trip to Africa. Based on this, how would Wenzel evaluate Germany’s cooperation with Africa?
“First of all, we are happy if Africa remains on the agenda of federal Germany. I think it is good that the concept of Africa, which was founded three years ago, continues to grow. It should be implemented in the future. We are less concerned about the speed and scope with which it will be implemented. Because the current thing seems to be lacking in active movement. According to them, the main reason for this is the rush to see the results as soon as possible.
“The problem of working together in Africa with aid and sustainability, especially in the economic aspect, should consider the result and the process. I find that thinking somewhat lacking. I think the problem is that the financial issue came first. What is crucial for us is how German companies can participate and how we can operate within the political framework in the continent. This should be done jointly with African partners.
Even though the demand and market for African energy sources are weak, Although they believe it can attract others besides Germany, they do not think the European Union has taken advantage of this. In this regard, they do not believe the relationship between the Union and Africa is as strong as with Germany.
“Currently, I see that the European-African relations are based on poorly managed economic agreements focused on several issues. This makes me think that EU-Africa relations are growing on infertile soil. Germany’s economic relations, on the other hand, are the most important in Africa. It has a lot of potentials. I gave an example; we must not forget renewable energy and energy use. I think the German government can focus on this. It also indicates that there should always be more focus on bilateral relations than multilateral ones. »
Among the participants of the 8th Germany-Africa Energy Demand and Supply Forum, Tembani Bukula, They are one of South Africa’s national energy authorities. Many non-governmental power generation companies explained this at the conference. What are the profitability and market potential? They explain.
“Before this, the government’s service-providing offices moved the sector by building the infrastructure. We know that these government offices cannot create a power plant at the current price. This made us look for other people with the money and ability to help us build the power infrastructure as an alternative.
Bakula pointed out that in the past, electricity was produced using renewable energy sources and offered to consumers at a reasonable price. They said that there is a discount now. For example, the cost of one kilowatt of wind energy ranges from 60 South African cents to 66 cents. This is not all. Bulla explains that the cost of energy from sunlight and biomass is higher than one rand. In Germany, several negotiations have been conducted to avoid nuclear power generation. Most people don’t support this either. It will be seen that countries like South Africa will be their permanent source of energy when Germany leaves this country.
“Our plan, which includes all energy sources, indicates that we will get an additional 5,000 megawatts from coal and 9,600 megawatts from nuclear sources in the next 20 years. The rest will be gas and renewable energy. »
According to Bukula, the withdrawal of nuclear and coal from South Africa’s energy sources in the next two decades will further reduce the energy supply. Do you say the same about South Africa’s location regarding renewable energy sources?
“As we have seen in South Africa and some neighboring countries, we started from zero and five megawatts in 2010 and 2011, and now in 2014, we were able to produce 7000 megawatts.” So there is this movement. »
You will find today’s Economic World report on the German-Africa energy market.