Power Cuts Harming Growth

by Developed Africa 10. June 2014 09:00

Energy is an often talked about subject, but looking at it in direct connection to economic growth heightens its importance.

It is necessary more than ever to look properly at the power problem across Africa, rather than just spouting statistics and data about change and development, it is key to look at what direct affects power cuts have upon growth and business.

The economic cost of power shortages can amount to more than 2 percent of gross domestic product. For some countries, it has shaved as much as one-quarter of a percentage point off annual per capita GDP growth rates."

An example of this comes from an article from an American medical student on the experience of running a business throughout power outages in Sierra Leone. The article describes a company that uses machines to produce a paste used to treat malnutrition:

frequent power outages and rolling blackouts forced us to switch between running on a generator and the national grid multiple times each business day, which is expensive and wastes valuable production time. These outages can also damage the machinery, resulting in costly repairs and production downtime that delay the distribution of this life-saving malnutrition treatment."

Examples like this need to be voiced more often as they bring a realness to the statistics, and will create a more urgent need for action.

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