Botswana among the best countries in electricity access

Ngoni Chiutsi - BG Correspondent
Tuesday, 05 April 2016
Botswana among the best countries in electricity access

Botswana is among the top 20 countries in Africa capable of providing electricity on a permanent basis to a larger section of its citizens, a report has revealed.

According to the latest survey findings from Afrobarometer released last week, Botswana has been ranked 12th and third in Africa and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region respectively, where citizens access electricity on permanent basis. In the SADC, top on the list is Swaziland, followed by South Africa while Zimbabwe is fourth and Namibia comes fifth.

The report titled “Off-grid or ‘off-on’: Lack of access, unreliable electricity supply still plague majority of Africans,” said Mauritius and Egypt are rated first and second respectively with a 100 percent reach of electricity, while Tunisia (99 percent), Algeria (99 percent), Cape Verde (98 percent), Swaziland (97 percent,  South Africa (95 percent), Morocco (94 percent), Cameron (93 percent) Sao Tome and principle (90 percent), Nigeria (90 percent),  Botswana 89 percent, Ghana (85 percent),Gabon (83 percent) , Senegal (72 percent), Sudan (65 percent), Zimbabwe (62 percent) and Namibia (62 percent) make the list. 

The survey is based on nearly 54 000 interviews in 36 African countries in 2014/205. The Afrobarometer report concludes that more than a century (1879) after Thomas Edison invented the light bulb a majority of African countries are still in the dark, either intermittently or constantly. “While North African countries are able to provide reliable electricity for most or all their citizens, they are the exception, particularly when it comes to serving rural and poor populations,” according the report. The report stated that in some countries, the electric grid reaches only a fraction of the population, in others, an extensive grid is undermined by inadequate supply and poor service.

“While more Africans live within reach of an electric grid than a decade ago, only four in 10 enjoy a reliable power supply,” reads part of the survey findings. Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions and related issues across more than 30 countries in Africa. Botswana’s power situation is likely to further improve after the government put in place a number of power projects to increase power generation. Minerals, energy and water resources minister Kitso Mokaila  recently told journalists that at least three units from the 120 MW Morupule A power station will return to work close to four years after the power plant was mothballed.One unit is expected to be up and running by August this year and the two others three months later.

The minister said the other units are expected to be running in 2017. Mokaile said there has been also improvement of power provision at Morupule B. The government availed about P3, 43 billion towards increasing power generation and increasing water availability in the country in its 2016/17 budget. Major energy infrastructure projects included Morupule A Power Station rehabilitation at P135 million, North-West Electricity Transmission Grid at P225 million and Rakola sub-station at P257 million.

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