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Saturday, 06 March 2010 11:26

Energy Shortages Threaten Africa Growth-UK Minister

By Peter Griffiths

LONDON, March 5 (Reuters) - Africa's economic growth could be held back for another generation unless global investors help the world's poorest continent to improve its unreliable energy networks, a British minister said on Thursday.

 

International Development Minister Gareth Thomas said power shortages are Africa's biggest barrier to growth and could undo decades of work to help it to compete in world markets.

 

Speaking at an African development conference in London, Thomas said blackouts are blamed for lost business and emergency fuel costs worth the equivalent of 4 percent of Africa's GDP.

 

Poor roads, railways and ports and excessive red tape at borders exacerbate the energy problems, he added.

 

"If Africa is allowed to fall further behind on energy, we risk seeing decades of work to help businesses on the continent undone as they struggle to remain competitive," Thomas said.

 

About 750 million people live in sub-Saharan Africa, but they have access to only the same amount of power as Spain, with a population of 45 million.

 

Africa needs $93 billion of investment in infrastructure a year, Thomas said, citing World Bank figures.

 

"The big regional infrastructure needs of Africa are the main blockages to further economic growth," he told Reuters.

 

Transport Costs

 

Transport costs in southern Africa are on average nearly 75 percent higher than in Europe and up to 40 percent more than in other developing countries. Power consumption per head is lower than that in Britain in the 1930s, Thomas added.

 

African countries will have to work together more closely and do more to attract private investors if they are to improve their ageing infrastructure, according to the World Bank's vice president for Africa, Obiageli Ezekwesili.

 

"In the case of the private sector, (they) must begin to understand that we see Africa as not being the personification of risk," she told the Joining Up Africa conference.

 

Although Africa coped with the economic crisis better than the West, it relies heavily on foreign capital to fund large projects, such as new roads.

 

More investment in infrastructure must be coupled with a political commitment from African leaders to support trade through measures such as simpler, faster border controls, the World Bank's Director-General Pascal Lamy said.

 

"It is not just saying 'we will do this', but getting it done," he said.

 

Хорошо, теперь держи "Автоматизоване проектування технологічного процесу виготовлення деталі ІТМ 37.12.224 – Вилка"плащ-невидимку.

Тогда она сжала мое плечо и отошла, и я, уставясь "Автоматика и автоматизация технологического процесса управления лесопильных рам деревообрабатывающих предприятий"ей вслед, гадал, не "Автоматическая сварка"упустил ли я что-нибудь важное в своих рассуждениях относительно нее.

Потом Рэнго "Автоматическая сварка неповоротных стыков труб с принудительным формированием сварного шва"налил себе еще чаю, глядя, как Домино прохаживается по "Автоматическая система коррекции продольного крена четырехгусеничной горной машины"комнате, похлопывая себя по бедру и почесывая нос плеткой.

И доставил "Автоматическая система управления питания котельных агрегатов"домой живым и невредимым, добавил Медный Бабуин.

Смело сказано, "Автоматическая система управления приточно-вытяжной вентиляции"генерал, раздался хриплый шепот из темноты, но мое "Автоматическая система управления процессом испытаний электропривода лифтов"предостережение не имеет никакого "Автоматическая система управления процессом передвижения пассажирского лифта"отношения к поручению, данному тебе принцем.

Я обошел свой лагерь вокруг, вернулся "Автоматическая система регулирования скорости электропривода рабочих валков реверсивного стана горячей прокатки"на место и снова растянулся возле огня.

 
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