Andrew Scott: Research Fellow, Climate and Environment, ODI
Chris Camponovo: Power Senior Adviser, Initiative for Global Development
Christian Spano: Global Lead for Socio-Economic Development, Anglo American
Lauren Callie: Regional Head of Business Communications, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank
Peter Guest: Journalist
Tim McNeill: Private Sector Development Adviser, UK Department for International Development
Power is routinely cited by large and small businesses as the most significant barrier to their success, adding huge costs to them and their customers. Poor infrastructure slows foreign direct investment and limits countries in their attempts to diversify their economies away from primary commodity export.
Unreliable or inaccessible power has a cost that goes beyond GDP figures and business growth, impacting on healthcare and education outcomes, which in turn have long-term implications for the future prosperity of individuals and societies.
The International Energy Agency estimates that more than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa live without electricity. While 950 million people will gain access to electricity in Africa between 2014 and 2040, demographic expansion will mean that 75 per cent of the population will still be without power.
A step-change in investment into electricity generation, distribution and efficiency is needed over the next quarter-century to unlock the potential of Africa’s demographic boom. This was the focus of a report published recently by Business Fights Poverty and the Initiative for Global Development (Click here to find out more and to download the report here)
Join our panel to discuss the following questions:
1. What is the real, day-to-day impact of Africa’s energy gap? What are some practical examples of the impacts on the ground?
2. What are the opportunities for business to be part of the solution to closing the energy gap?
3. What building blocks need to be put in place by governments and other development partners to harness the potential contribution that business can make to closing this gap, and by doing so helping unlock the Continent’s potential?
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