国际能源署（International Energy Agency）本周发布的一份报告显示，撒哈拉以南非洲地区的国家必须实施改革来吸引投资者，并投入数千亿美元对陈旧落后的基础设施进行升级改造。
《非洲能源展望》（African Energy Outlook）报告发现，在过去五年里，全球探明的石油和天然气有30%来自撒哈拉以南非洲地区——该地区包括撒哈拉沙漠以南的若干国家。但与此同时，在当地9.15亿人口当中，仅有2.9亿人可以使用电力。这个人口基数只会不断增长。
Sub-Saharan Africa’s vast energy resources could be a catalyst for strong growth in the coming decades, but only if countries push through reforms and upgrade their infrastructures.
According to a report released Monday by the International Energy Agency, countries in the region must enact reforms that will attract investors and spend the hundred of billions needed to upgrade aging and poorly functioning infrastructures.
The African Energy Outlook found that 30% of global oil and gas discoveries made over the past five years were from sub-Saharan Africa, which includes countries south of the Sahara desert. But at the same time only 290 million out of 915 million people have access to electricity. That figure is only rising.
Worse, four out of five people in the region depend on firewood and charcoal mainly for cooking due to the lack of electricity. The projection is that figure will rise 40 percent by 2040, putting tropical forests at risk and further contributing to indoor pollution that is already the second biggest cause of premature death behind AIDS in the region.
“When I look at the continent, sub-Saharan Africa is very rich in energy resources and very poor in energy supply and production,” IEA Chief Economist FatihBirol told Fortune.
“There is huge potential both for oil and gas and, when it comes to renewables, huge potential for hydropower, wind and solar,” he said. “On the other hand, there is very little energy for the people in Africa.”
Africa has long been plagued by the resource curse, where abundant oil, gas and minerals in places like Equatorial Guinea or the Republic of Congo have made a select few rich, led to widespread corruption and left the majority of citizens poor. The energy resources have also sparked conflict in countries such as Sudan and Nigeria, and have contributed to years of coups and political unrest.
That trend is set to continue, the IEA report said, unless countries tackle the range of problems that hinder the energy sector, from widespread oil theft (worth $5 billion a year in Nigeria) to electricity tariffs across the region, which are among the highest in the world. Corruption, too, remains a “major barrier” to investment in some countries.
“There are two major issues here — the lack of investment and the second one is the governance issue,” Birol said of the need for about $140 million a year across the region for the energy sector.
“There are investments coming into the region but our study shows that today $2 out of $3 in Africa is for export-related projects not for the Africans,” he said. “We don’t see the investments can come if the governance issue is not fixed.”