Senegal is constructing West Africa’s largest wind farm that will supply 158MW of electricity to 2 million people

The Taliba N’Diaye wind farm is part of President Macky Sall’s “Emerging Senegal” Plan which aims to speed up Senegal’s development. The wind farm will be completed by mid this year and will supply 158MW of clean energy as well as increasing the country’s energy supply by 15%. The wind farm has already started supplying 50MW to the national grid. Moreover, the wind farm will offset about 300,000 tons of carbon emissions annually thus protecting the environment from climate change devastation.

A renewable energy development company, Lekela Power, is building the wind farm. The total cost of the project is 340 million euros and is being funded by the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), The Danish Export Credit Agency (MIGA) and the United States Agency for International Development Power Africa. The wind farm comprises of 46 wind turbines each producing 3.45MW of electricity and is located 100 kilometers north of Dakar.

Renewable energy as the future energy source for the continent

Africa has tremendous potential for renewable energy. For instance, the Inga falls in the DRC has the potential to power up half the continent. The continent also has year-round sunlight ideal for solar energy. Although the continent is blessed with massive energy resources,  it is not being utilized to the maximum. As a result, more than 500 million Africans lack access to electricity.

This lack of access to electricity contributes to the low manufacturing output and high unemployment rates in the continent. For instance, it has been reported that Nigeria suffers a yearly 5% loss in GDP due to erratic power supply. Consequently, most Nigerians use back-up generators for their homes and businesses. This negatively affects the environment and health of the people through the pollution from generator fumes.

The way forward for Africa’s energy crisis

Currently, there is only one solar manufacturing company, Photovoltaic Technology Intellectual Property, in the continent located in South Africa. The market for renewable sources of energy is huge in the continent.

African entrepreneurs should grab this opportunity and set-up solar manufacturing plants. There is a huge untapped solar market on the continent. Entrepreneurs could partner with foreign companies to invest in solar manufacturing plants on the continent. This would lead to skills transfer as well as pioneering innovative solutions to solar manufacturing in the continent.

It is only through siting these companies in the continent that will lead to the long term solutions of the energy crisis. This is because when these companies are domiciled in the continent, they would provide maintenance services as well as using local content to provide more innovative solar products.

Congratulations to Senegal for leading the way for wind farms in West Africa.

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Rwandan company has set up a gold refinery plant in Kigali to refine all their gold instead of exporting it as raw

The $5m gold refinery is located at the Kigali special economic zone and started operations in March 2019. The refinery is an initiative of Aldango, a local company that deals in minerals. The refinery has the capacity to process 6 tonnes of gold a month equivalent to 220Kg per day and will be expanded as demand increases.

According to the chairman of the company, the factory is built with the same standard as those found in Europe and Asia.  The company will buy raw gold from the country and around the continent and process it into high quality finished gold. The company already has access to the international market. The country hopes that the refinery will complement its efforts in achieving a revenue target of $1.5 billion from mineral exports by 2024.

Adding value to resources in Rwanda

Even though most African countries have abundant mineral resources, they are exported raw outside the continent. As a result, the African countries experience loss in potential revenues as well as jobs. Aldango is a Rwandan based company that specialises in the metal industry.

The company realised that even though Rwanda had deposits of precious metal resources, it had no refining capabilities. Hence, it grabbed this opportunity to set-up this refinery that will now process all the gold mined in the country as well as from the surrounding countries. The company will also expand its capacity as demand increases.

Benefits of the gold refinery to Rwanda

Instead of Rwanda exporting raw metals and earning less revenues, they will now export them in processed form consequently earning much higher revenues. The plant will also provide both direct and indirect employment to the Rwandan population. Similarly, the government will also earn more tax revenues from both the company and its employees. moreover, the company has intentions to expand to processing other precious metals and further contributing towards the socio-economic development of Rwanda.

What Africa governments need to do to follow in Rwanda’s footsteps?

Firstly, the Rwandan government realized that it is the private sector that will lead the economic growth of the country. As a result, through the visionary leadership of President Kagame, he created the enabling environment that will make businesses thrive in the country. For instance, Rwanda is now ranked among the top countries in the world in ease of doing business.

Secondly, transparency in the government as demonstrated by the e-procurement portal of the country which gives suppliers and buyers confidence and transparency in procuring goods and services.

Finally, President Kagame through his political-will made sure that all the policies with regards to ease of doing business and transparency in government transactions, are followed through and executed.

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