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Did you know: Reliable power supply is a key challenge to Africa’s growth

ContourGlobal, infrastructure, Caps des Biches power plant, Dakar, Senegal, reliable electricity, generated electricity, Power Africa, OPIC, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, electrical outages
With an expected 5 to 8 percent annual growth for demand in electricity, improvements in infrastructure are critical.


Senegal, like many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, suffers from severe power shortages as well as erratic, unreliable supply from existing sources. Roughly 40 percent of the country’s national generation capacity is not fully functional, and has in the past necessitated costly, short-term solutions such as rental diesel units. Generated electricity is often times lost in transmission and distribution, in some countries this loss is estimated at more than 50 percent. Communities are forced to come up with expensive, short term remedies.

The OPIC-supported Caps des Biches power plant in the Dakar region of Senegal is adding almost 86 MW of reliable electricity to the country’s installed capacity and help advance the U.S. Power Africa initiative, which aims to double the number of people in Africa who have access to power. To date OPIC has committed $2.1 billion toward 22 Power Africa projects which are projected to generate 1,700 MW of new power throughout the continent.

Senegal currently ranks 124th in the world in energy production, and in 2014 averaged six electrical outages per month, each lasting approximately one hour. Once Caps des Biches is complete the idea is to cut down on such events and improve upon statistics like these. It’s a good window into how impactful infrastructure can make a country that much better off.

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