by PD Lawton
The intention of this article is to give an over-view of the progress of the new paradigm in Africa. Here is an in-depth look at a few countries. Others have been omitted not for any lack of progress.
The new paradigm is the emergence of the industrialized sovereign nation states of Africa where the dignity of humanity can be upheld, this begins with the construction of the physical economy.
“Africa is one continent, one people, and one nation. The notion that in order to have a nation it is necessary for there to be a common language, a common territory and common culture has failed to stand the test of time or the scrutiny of scientific definition of objective reality… The community of economic life is the major feature within a nation, and it is the economy which holds together the people living in a territory. It is on this basis that the new Africans recognise themselves as potentially one nation, whose dominion is the entire African continent” – Kwame Nkrumah
In November of this year, China anounced the complete alleviation of absolute poverty in all counties.In what has been the poorest region, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, home to 3.08 million people, the task has been all the more challenging as the region is predominantly desert, with only 4% of the land having water.But no matter the conditions, the standard of living for every Chinese citizen has now been raised. What has been achieved in China, is possible in Africa and given that Africa already has the incredible opportunity of the Belt and Road Initiative, it can be achieved much faster.
Step by step a new global paradigm is starting to take hold, threatening the historic global order with all of its trappings of poverty, disease and the subdugation of human creativity.
Despite the fact that only a few within the media cover the good news, Africans are a powerful force driving this new paradigm. In fact, Africa will become the new paradigm of human creativity. As the great panAfricanist, Kwame Nkrumah said :
“It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.”
China recognizes Africa`s important role in the world. President Xi Jinping has said that Africa is China`s foremost partner in the Belt and Road vision to build a shared future for mankind.
Africa`s Integrated High Speed Railway Network – AIHSRN
Currently, Africa has a rail density of approximately 2.5 km for 1000 km², compared to the world average of 23 for 1000 km².
Until radical changes in the last decade, especially the Morroccan high speed train, al Boraq,railways were colonial relics running on narrow guage lines at extremely low speeds, prone to derailment and built for the sole purpose of servicing export of raw materials to the North. Beginning the mid 1980s, under the IMF`s destructive and disastrous Structural Adjustment Programs many of Africa`s railways, having previously been state-owned, were privatized and sold off as assets to pay off national debt . The railways largely suffered under private sector ownership which did not re-invest into the industry. The result was that many countries such as Ghana , until recently, have found themselves with an out-dated, non-functioning railway grid.
The African Integrated High-Speed Railway Network (AIHSRN),was approved by the African Union (AU) in 2014. The high speed rail network includes 6 East – West corridors and 3 North – South corridors. This plan will revolutionize life on the continent. It will mean that for the first time in history, a traveller can go on the same , super modern train from Point Noire in the Republic of Congo on the Atlantic Coast, due East to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania on the Indian Ocean. Or indeed, from Dakar in Senegal due East to Asmara in Eritrea. Or a traveller can go from Tripoli in Libya due South to Luanda in Angola and then on to Cape Town, South Africa. Or you can go from Alexandria in Egypt due South to Mogadishu in Somalia and then on to Durban in South Africa.
The Railway Project includes more than revolutionary railways, it includes the building of numerous new bridges, roads and ports which are all needed to complete the transformation of transport infrastructure throughout the continent. These new bridges, roads and ports are hugely beneficial in their own right for the economy, for access to healthcare and educational facilities, for life in general but put together with a modern integrated railway network, it is a leap frog for all of Africa into a new economic league which means that the alleviation of poverty will become, not a glimmer of possibility, but a certainty if Africa adopts the Chinese model of development.
- AIHSRN Progress as of December 2020 :Completed:
====E-W Addis Ababa – Djibouti completed 2017 which is first trans-national electrified line in Africa
- ====N-S Casablanca -Tangiers completed in 2018 is the fastest train in Africa. It is high speed with the northern section running at 320km/hr
- =====E-W Mombasa to Nairobi completed. Kampala to Mombasa completed.
Part of the lines connecting Bangui, CAR and Juba, South Sudan.
- ====E-W Dar Es Salaam to Morogoro completed
- ====N-S Abuja to Kaduna completed
- ====N-S Lagos to Ibadun completed
- ====E-W Alexandria to Marsa Matruh, part of Alexandria to Banghazi, Libya completed
- ====E-W Alexandria to Qina, part of Alexandria to Khartoum completed
Under active consideration:
Asmara- Djibouti. Eritrea to Djibouti via Ethiopia . 1,408km
- Kigali – Dar Es Salaam. Rwanda to Tanzania. 1,476km
====N-S Kano to Maradi is in procurement
- ====N-S Accra to Ouagadougou is in procurement
- ====N-S Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire to Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso is in procurement
- ====N-S Cotonou, Benin to Niamey, Niger is in procurement
- Planned but not active
E-W Tunis – Casablanca. Tunisia to Morocco via Algeria. 1,981km
- E-W Dakar -Khartoum. Senegal to The Sudan via Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.6,531km
- E-W Lamu-Juba. Kenya to South Sudan. 1,547km
- E-W Pointe Noire – Bujumbura. Republic of Congo to Burundi via DR Congo. 1,755km
- E-W Douala -Mombasa. Cameroon to Kenya via Central African Republic, South Sudan and Uganda. 3,703km
- E-W Lilongwe – Nacala. Malawi to Mozambique.814 km
- E-W Lobito-Beira. Angola to Mozambique via Zambia. 3,071km
- E-W Walvis Bay-Maputo. Namibia to Mozambique via Botswana and South Africa. 2,691km
N-S Algiers – Lagos. Algeria to Nigeria via Niger. 4,111km
- N-S Ndjamena – Luanda. Chad to Angola via Central African Republic and Republic of Congo. 2,249km
- N-S Addis Ababa – Gabarone. Ethiopia to Botswana via Kenya,Tanzania and Zambia 4,812km
- N-S Alexandria to Addis Ababa. Egypt to Ethiopia via The Sudan . 3,600km
- N-S Luanda – Windhoek. Angola to Namibia. 1,882km
- N-S Ouagadougou -Abidjan. Burkina Faso to Cote D`Ivoire. 1,120km
- N-S Mbeya – Maseru. Tanzania to Lesotho via Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. 3,115
- N-S Kampala – Bujumbura. Uganda to Burundi . 596km
- N-S Niamey – Cotonou. Niger to Benin. 955km
- N-S Pretoria -Durban . Central South Africa to east coast South Africa. 626km
FAST TRACK THE HIGH SPEED RAIL NETWORK!
Rowland Ataguba, Managing Director of Bethlehem Rail Infrastructure , has stated that since the Lagos Declaration in 2013,not nearly enough of the continent`s rail network has been completed or even started. He said that too much valuable time has been lost in connecting the railway network to the upliftment of the average African`s life, that the rail network needs to affect the economy today, not tomorrow! He suggests that there are 3 options. 1): Do nothing and scrap the African Union`s vision of AIHSRN. 2): No change and stick with the current plan or 3): ALL CHANGE. REVIEW THE SCOPE AND FAST TRACK THE PLAN.
Option 3 is a necessity in a post Covid world, not an option. Rowland Ataguba is right, there is no more time to waste. He suggests that AIHSRN be completed over a 12 year period with a 6 month working model. His key guidelines are as follows:
Establish Programme Teams. Pre-feasability/ Business Planning. Appoint Transaction Advisors. Establish Institutional Infrastructure. Bankable Feasability Studies. Procure Concessionaire(s). Construction/Procurement/Mobilization. Operations and Reviews
He suggests that the AUDA ( African Union Development Agency) take greater authority over the program, that more control is given to the AU to implement the rail network. Program management teams should oversee the co-ordination of the delivery of the program and would act as third party co-ordinator between State, investor and contractor. The district projects whether they are BOT ( Build Operate and Transfer) or PPP ( Public-Private Partnership ) or ordinary procurements operated by state-owned enterprises, would be more cohesive if co-ordinated by an appointed third party. Legally the client-owner of each project would remain the government who would hand over authority to the AU who would then appoint a program manager or management team tasked with delivering the project. Each region should be overseen in a regional capacity.
Rowland Ataguba`s interview with Railways Africa Magazine :
The timescale of this proposal is possible when we consider what China has achieved in the last 12 years with its high speed railway network. The African Union proposes that AIHSRN be completed by 2063. Africa simply does not have that long to waste before realization of the transformative changes that an integrated railway network will provide to the entire African economy.
The importance of constructing high speed railway as oppose to standard guage is discussed in detail in an article by David Cherry and Philip Tsokolibane, EIR June 28, 2019, `African High-Speed Rail Finance Requires LaRouche Four-Power Pact`. Also discussed in detail is the Hamiltonian Credit system and the necessity of an international collaberation to fix, not just the African economy, but the world economy.
It must be noted that an inter-continental railway network, like most African mega-infrastructure projects, is not a novel concept. Most of the mega projects were on the drawing boards in the 1970s! The shocking lapse in progress is attributable to IMF policy.
BUHARI`S NIGERIA LEADS THE WAY
Under the visionary leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria is a key African partner in the Belt and Road Initiative. The benefits of Nigeria`s participation in the BRI are outlined in this article:
President Buhari has said that Nigeria cannot be seen as an island, that the country will never have peace and prosperity while its neighbours live in poverty.
In saying that, he expressed the spirit of the New Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative, and the ethos of a shared future for mankind.
It is for that reason that President Buhari has championed extension of the railway into Niger.The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project will revolutionize national and regional trade.
The railway network will be extended to Maradi in Niger which is one of the landlocked neighbours along with Burkina Faso and Chad who currently only have road access to sea ports in Accra in Ghana, Cotonou in Benin and Lome in Togo. In September the Nigerian government announced the funding of $1.9 billion to construct the 250km line from Kano to Maradin, a village in Niger. In Maradin, warehouses will be built for cargo
As of the 12 January 2021 the contract for the $1.9 bn line from Kano -Maradi has been signed with Portuguese construction firm Mota- Engil.
For centuries the trans-Saharan trade route went from Maradi to Kano and was prosperous until colonialism and more recently destabilizing forces changed such fortunes. The original city of Maradi is ancient , dating back thousands of years to the time of the Silk Road.
The remaining section from Maradin to Maradi will be financed and built by Niger.The contractor for the Nigerian line is a Portuguese company (Mota-Engil). The line is being financed by two European banks.
The government has been heavily criticized for extending the rail network beyond its borders.The Kano-Maradi line goes from the northern capital, Kano, across the border into Niger to the town of Maradi which has a population of 267,000.
The critics say that Niger has nothing to offer. There are cities in Nigeria that have a higher income than the entire Niger State, which is geographically larger than Nigeria but mostly desert and desperately poor.The critics say why help Nigeriens when Nigerians are suffering ? The government is being accused internationally of trying to capture the trade that currently goes to the port of Cotonou in Benin and of favouring the Muslim north of Nigeria to garner popularity for President Buhari`s APC ( All Progressives Congress) party. So why extend the line to Niger?
Because Africa must unite.
Apart from gold deposits, Niger is considered to have only one asset, uranium. Since 1968, Areva, an 80% French state-owned corporation has obviously been the main beneficiary in a partnership which is definitely not `win-win`. Niger is the 4th largest uranium producer globally. It has high grade deposits. Areva ( now called Orano)pays 5.5% tax and royalties to the Nigerien government. When asked to raise this pathetic ammount, the extraction plant ceased service for a number of weeks and the tax rate remained unchanged.
Mining in Africa is dominated by the City of London extractive interests. The level of tax and royalties paid to government is consistently low. Glencore Xstrata is one of the main culprits
Uranium is mined near the towns of Arlit and Akokan, 1200 km northeast of the capital, Niamey, on the western range of the Air mountains. The mined ore is transported by truck 1600 km to Parakou in Benin, from where it is transported by rail, 400 km to Cotonou Port and then exported.
Between them, Niger and Namibia, two of Africa`s most arid and impoverished countries, could be supplying all of Africa`s uranium, not if, but when, the continent turns to nuclear power. However, uranium should not be regarded as Niger`s primary asset. Instead we should regard the 23 million Nigeriens as the source of true wealth because it is they, given the creative freedom from absolute poverty, who have the potential to transform the economy of their country.
The African Development Bank is funding a program to strengthen Niger`s rural economy. Food shortages, malnutrition and outright starvation are a permanent situation for the majority of Niger`s rural population. In 2013, only 8% of the population had access to electricity. 82% had no access to sanitation. As of 2020, 15% of people have electricity. According to World Data, Niger has an annual energy consumption of 1.07 billion kWh which is 46kWh per person per year. Life expectancy is around 60. There are no railways at present.
If China has elliminated absolute poverty in one of its poorest and dryest regions, the Uygur Region, there is no reason at all why it cannot be done in a country like Niger, provided that Africa as a whole, adopts the Chinese methods. Niger is a partner in the BRI. On a State visit to Beijing in 2019, President Mahamadou Issoufou and President Xi Jinping agreed to strengthen ties within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,stressing the importance of carrying out key projects in infrastructure, people’s livelihood, energy and agriculture. China has also committed to assisting Niger with technology and skills transfer in all fields including building a modernized health care system.
NUCLEAR ENERGY FOR NIGERIENS
To the critics of the Kano-Maradi railway we can say that maybe `today` Niger has little to offer but `tomorrow` it will be the Sahelian Region`s largest energy exporter and it will be Niger that powers industry from Mauritania to Sudan!
In 2015, as part of the Niger Renaissance Programme, the government hosted a conference in Niamey, capital of Niger, to initiate a national nuclear power program under the umbrella of the West African Integrated Nuclear Power Group (WAINPG) to study the feasibility of regional nuclear power capability.
The Nigerien High Authority for Atomic Energy (Haute Autorité Nigérienne à l’Energie Atomique (HANEA) have submitted Phase 1 of the feasability study to the IAEA. This was done in 2018. Japan has assisted in the funding of the proposal.
Niger, despite being arid. does have plentiful rainful around the Niger Delta but the rain is torrential for a period of weeks often leading to flooding. The government have built dykes but even these failed recently under the volume of water. Not only did this cause loss of life, homes and livelihoods for thousands, but many rice fields and granaries were ruined further contributing to food shortages.
NIGER AND BEYOND
AIHSRN includes a link from Lagos to Algiers which will directly link the Gulf of Guinea to the Mediterranean. The route traverses Niger which will be of immeasurable value to the economy of Nigeria, Niger and Algeria.
Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, conducted many interviews with the Nigerian press during the this year`s 60th Independence Anniversary in which he said:
“Last week, we awarded the contract for Kano to Maradi and people were screaming why are we taking it to Niger Republic. It’s important to take it to Niger because of economic reasons. Most coastal territories in Africa are competing better than us in terms of cargoes coming from not the hinterland, the landlocked countries. “We decided to join the market and compete so that we can make our seaports very viable. We decided to introduce the Kano-Maradi rail so that we can convey their goods from Maradi (a boundary village) to our ports with ease. I don’t know why people are screaming about it. It’s about economics, not politics.
You should know that railway generates employment and that as you move from Kano to Maradi you’re going to to go to Kano, Dutse, Kazaure, Daura, Katsina, Jibia before you get to Maradi, imagine the number of persons that you’ll create jobs for just at the beginning of the construction. “At the end of construction, imagine the number of businesses that you can site along with that area just because there is transportation. So when you talk about timing, poverty doesn’t have timing, unemployment is causing insecurity and banditry is a product of poverty, not just lack of education. So you have to find an alternative to those who participate in banditry. “So what we are trying to create is a source of growing the economy of Nigeria and creating opportunities for those who want to do real business, so they’ll be able to move their manufactured goods and reduce the cost of production around that area. That’s what we are trying to do.”
NIGERIA`S NATIONAL RAILWAY NETWORK
The Nigerian Railway Modernization Project, will connect Lagos in the south west to Kano in the far north, by standard gauge railway.The modernized national rail network is around 3000 kilometers in length and of standard gauge. It will connect all major cities and link to the ports. The network will link to Niger.
It is replacing and expanding on the old colonial era narrow gauge system which was slow, inefficient and by 2013 all but collapsed with only the Lagos to Kano ( south to north) line operational. The average speed was 45km/h and the journey took 31 hours. With the completion of the Lagos-Ibadan line, that leg of the journey now takes less than 2 hours!
The new metro light rail system in Abuja will be connected to the National Rail Network.
Abuja Airport is also connected to the new metro network and the city centre (Abuja’s Central Business District). The Abuja Metro is the first light rail system in West Africa. The metro relieves traffic congestion, is reliable, fast and safe, and cheaper than local taxis.The metro will link Abuja with the towns of Nyanya, Kubwa, Mararaba and Lugbe in the near future.
In 2006 an agreement was signed with the China Civil Engineering Construction Company for $8.3 billion. The entire project will cost $36 – $40 billion.The CCEC has, over the last years, constructed the Abuja-Kaduna Railway , Abuja Mass Transit Railway, Itapke-Warri Railway and now the Lagos-Ibadan line. The project, which is funded by China`s Exim Bank and the Nigerian government, is being built in segments to spread the cost over time.
Expansion is planned for the ports at Lekki and Bonny to make them deep water harbours of between 17 -18 metres deep. A new river port will be built at Warri and Ibom.
Lekki Port expansion is under construction. It will be Nigeria`s deepest sea port and is situated in the Lagos Free Trade Zone. It will be one of the most modern in West Africa. Minister of Transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, has tasked the project managers with commencement of commercial activities by 2022.
The Port Harcourt-Maiduguri rail line will link the north eastern region to the eastern sea port of Bonny which has been approved already, work will commence soon. From Bonny the line will go to Port Harcourt – Aba- Umuahia – Enugu – Makurdi – Lafia – Jos – Kafanchan – Bauchi – Gombe – Damaturu, and Maiduguri, with a spur from Port Harcourt to Owerri.
According to the Transport Minister Amaechi :
“Where we have about two seaports or river ports in Port Harcourt, you’ll be able to transport a lot of Iron Ore deposits from the North East through the Port Harcourt – Maiduguri rail. The completion of this project which we hope that if it doesn’t start this year, will start the first quarter of next year, the completion, will move cargo, create employment, create industrial development and it will grow the economy.”
Transport Minister Amaechi explained that ports and rail work together:
“Currently, Nigerians move about 30 million cargoes between Lagos and Kano in a year. The capacity of the Nigerian Railway Corporation as of today is about 200,000 cargoes per year. That’s appalling. So, if you want to make the factors of production to be cheap and make our goods competitive, then you must provide logistics, either the road, by air or by railway. But the cheapest form of transport in this regard is the railway because it’s subsidised by the government. So the idea of complying with the instruction by the president that all railways must terminate at the seaport is because you want to move your cargo. The moment you begin to move cargo, you’ll see the transformation. The movement of cargo will improve the industrial development of Nigeria.”
The Lagos to Calabar line runs along the coast. Funding is still being sourced for this line, as of December 2020 . It will be 1,400 km and will link all the key sea and river ports.It will run from Calabar – Uyo – Aba – Port Harcourt – Yenogua – Otuoke – Ughelli – Warri – Sapele – Benin – Ore – Ijebu-Ode – Lagos.
The Abuja to Kaduna rail line is completed and in service since 2016. It is 186km long. Itakpe-Warri line is completed which is 326 kilometres long. The Lagos-Ibadan line is the first double-track standard gauge modern railway in West Africa.It is 156km long.
Track-laying of the high speed standard gauge railway from Lagos to Ibadan has been completed by the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC). The project was started in March 2017. The line is now in service and will have 10 stations. The passenger trains will have a speed of 200-250km/h.
China is known for its efficiency. Construction wise, Chinese companies build on time as a mark of honour. They are able to achieve this by designing mega-machinery that can act as a factory on wheels. It took the CCECC just 5 months to complete 156km of double ( 2 sets of line) track laying! On the Lagos-Ibadan line, a track laying machine was used that can lay 2km of track in 1 work-shift (8 hours).
Lagos is the largest city in Africa, on the coast of the Gulf of Guinea in south-west Nigeria. The Greater Metropolitan Lagos area is home to around 16 million people. Ibadan is an important industrial city. Abuja is in the centre of Nigeria and the capital city. Kano is in the north near the border of Niger and an historically significant trans-Sahel trading point. The railway will form a 1,300 km long corridor along the length of Nigeria.
The main station will be in Lagos and will act as the operations centre as well as a passenger terminus. Initially 3 pairs of trains will run each day. The maximum capacity that the project is designed to accommodate is an incredible 15 pairs (inward and outward bound) per day!
The building which is still under construction, will be a colossal 11,200 square meters. It will be the largest railway station in West Africa with a capacity for 6000 passengers. It was hoped that the building will be completed by the end of 2020.
Investment in infrastructure leads to the growth of ancillary industries. In the case of the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project, a new factory in Kajola, Ogun Province is just one example. The factory will bring an initial 5000 jobs and will be manufacturing the rolling stock for the new, modernized railways. It will then proceed to supplying the rest of West Africa and beyond!
This rolling stock, the carriages, are super modern. Each compartment is not only luxurious and spacious but is also equipped with phone charging facilities for each seat. There are overhead luggage compartments, tables, adjustable seats, bar and restaurant facilities and each compartment has a television screen.
Nigeria: Value Addition in Agriculture
In 2015, Nigeria initiated the Value Chain Development Program that is improving cassava and rice value chains for small farmers in targeted districts The program aims at increasing productivity in the staple sector, increasing food production and thereby reducing poverty.70% of Nigerians live in rural areas and are small farmers who produce 90% of the nation`s agricultural products. Dire poverty in Nigeria is mostly in rural, agriculture-based communities and it is these communities that the government are targeting.
According to the Nigerian Statehouse website:
“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is a Medium Term Plan for 2017 – 2020, developed by the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the purpose of restoring economic growth while leveraging the ingenuity and resilience of the Nigerian people – the nation’s most priceless assets.”
The program aims to put the oil-based economy on an entirely different trajectory to transform the economy and thereby alleviate poverty.Key components are the Nigerian Railway Modernization Project which is part of the Nigeria Integrated Infrastructure Master Plan which includes the construction of new, or modernization of existing, ports, bridges and road networks.
According to the Statehouse website:
“This Plan will use science, technology and innovation to drive growth. It also provides a blueprint for laying the foundation for future generations by focusing on building the capabilities of the youths of Nigeria to be able to take the country into the future.”
“Using agriculture to achieve food security, create jobs and save foreign exchange for food imports. Plans are already in place for national self-sufficiency in rice by 2018 and wheat by 2019/2020. Successful harvests will contribute in reducing inflation and promoting economic diversification.”
The Nigerian Agricultural Transformation Agenda was initiated in 2013. It is a program to alleviate rural poverty and increase production.Since the discovery of crude oil, IMF`s globalist policy has been to advise on oil export and food import which over the years harmed the country`s agricultural industry with cheap foreign imports having a negative effect on domestic production.
Rice self-sufficiency had reached 84% by start of 2019. Government and private sector initiatives have provided support,credit,training and seed, along with even distribution of rice milling (polishing) plants across all regions. Mechanization solutions and the case for small modular processing plants are some of the innovative ideas being pushed by Richard Ogundele, CEO of JMSF Agribusiness Nigeria, a key player in the agricultural transformation program. According to him:
“Another thing that we could see working here, is SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) branding. The farmers who grow them and the processors at that lower level, need to understand quality assurance from the start to the market end. And that`s where branding comes in, packaging, handling,storage and distribution. So opportunity for logistics is also there. Logistics in agriculture is still a challenge across Nigeria, storage, transportation, packaging, handling. We need improvements in this value chain service provision area. So if anyone is interested in this sector, we can always guide them and talk it through. And of course there will be the multiplying effect on the economy because more jobs will be created along the value chain for those who will be offering services to the core operations within the sector.”
Infrastructure, including water infrastructure, is having an immensely positive effect on production.
Rice is the Nigerian staple. Local Nigerian varieties of rice are found to be of a higher nutritional value than imported rice.The local rice is not as highly polished which increases nutritional value and it consumed fresher compared to imported rice which can be many years old.
Nigeria`s self-sufficiency policy has caused `rice wars` with international exporters flooding the market with super cheap, low-quality produce. This has resulted in a series of protests from within the country as people demand cheap rice. It has been difficult for the government to convince the nation that by supporting the domestic market, they will have a better product which will become cheaper over time as production increases.
The black-market for rice is a continuing problem as Nigeria`s expansive borders are porous and rice is routinely smuggled across from Benin.
In September 2020 the government stopped tomato imports and has adopted a similar tactic to boost tomato production by value adding and processing into puree, thereby supporting domestic tomato growers and to encourage job creation.
The Nigerian government recently announced the release of funding for 300,000 new affordable homes which are to be built with 90% local materials, further supporting the national economy.
TANZANIA AND THE EAST AFRICA MASTER RAILWAY PLAN
President Dr John Pombe Magufuli initiated the Tanzanian high speed rail project in April 2017.
Tanzania is part of the AIHSRN Central Corridor in East Africa that will link across the continent to the West coast and the Atlantic Ocean. The project will initially link Dar Es Salaam to Kigali in Rwanda. The line will go from Dar Es Salaam to Bujumbura in Burundi, Bukavu and Goma in DRC, Kigali in Rwanda and north to Uganda where it will link up with the Northern Corridor.
The line from Dar Es Salaam to Morogoro, 207km, is completed. It is East Africa`s first electrified railway! There will be three passenger trains that will be doing daily round trips between the two cities of Dar Es Salaam and Morogoro.Currently over 26,000 have been employed through the new railway. It is costing $1.9 billion for Phase 1 to Morogoro. The travel time will be cut by 50%. It will take 1.5hrs instead of 3.
The line through the coastal city of Dar Es Salaam has been designed to go across areas of the city on viaducts. Dar Es Salaam is one of the fastest growing cities in the world with a population of around 6.5 million.
Eleven tributaries of the Mizimbazi River converge into the Msimbazi Valley where Tanzania`s coastal capital is situated. The 271km2 river basin is prone to flash flooding and regularly causes loss of life, property and infrastructure. The government has plans underway to re-design the entire area and turn it from a problem into an opportunity for economic stimulus.
The World Bank funded project will incorporate redevelopment and a city park to restore the ecosystem which will stop the erosion of river banks and accumulation of sediments during flooding. The mangroves, a riparian species of shrub which grow in saline water, will be protected as a primary soil stabilizing element. The government has fully engaged the communities and together with investors are designing this exciting transformation of disaster into beauty and a better living place for the residents of the Msimbazi Valley.
A Turkish railway engineering and construction company, Yapi Merkezi, are constructing the Tanzanian railway. The standard gauge line will go from Dar Es Salaam to the DRC forming part of what is the Central Corridor which will ultimately link Dar Es Salaam in the East on the Indian Ocean, to Point Noire, Republic of Congo in the West and the Atlantic Ocean.The line will go from Bukavu in eastern DRC to Kinshasa, capital of DRC, passing through Mbuji-Mayi and Tshikapa.
The project to Rwanda is divided into 5 phases : 300km Phase 1 Dar es Salaam–Morogoro. Phase 2 – 426km Morogoro–Makutopora. Phase 3- 435km Makutopora–Isaka. Phase 4 -220km Isaka–Mwanza and Phase 5 -371km Isaka–Rusumo.
Phase 1 was projected to take 30 months and is now completed. A total of 33 million cubic meters of excavation work was undertaken and construction included 96 pieces of 6,500 meter-long bridge and overpasses, 460 culverts and 6 stations.
Phase 2 is now underway, it too will have a speed of 160km/hr. The line, 426km, will go from Morogoro -Makutupora which will connect Dar Es Salaam to Mwanza. The estimated time is 36 months. Makutupora is just north of Dodoma, Tanzania`s geographically central and official capital. Once the line is completed to Dodoma it will be halfway to Rwanda. The line from Dar Es Salaam to Dodoma will be the region`s first inter-city electrified railway.
From Dodoma the line will go to Mwanza which is Tanzania`s second largest city. It is an major inland port and industrial hub on the shores of Lake Victoria.Mwanza connects by water to Kisumu in Kenya and Port Bell in Uganda. Lake Victoria borders Uganda and Kenya. The lake is 59,947 km2 making it the largest in Africa by area and the world`s largest tropical lake and second largest fresh water lake. Mwanza is geographically very significant making high speed rail access to it very important.
CONNECTING THE GREAT LAKES REGION TO THE COASTS
Isaka is a dry inland port along the highway that connects Mombasa in Kenya to Dar Es Salaam via Mwanza. It is a customs point and cargo holding area that serves goods transport from Rwanda, Burundi and DRC. At present it takes trucks 6 to 7 days to get from Dar Es Salaam to Kigali. The cost of transportation before the outbreak of Covid was US$ 3,200 per truck. Transport by rail will dramatically reduce transport time and cost by 40%. Each freight train will be able to transport 10,000 tonnes, equivalent to 500 lorry-loads.
RWANDA`S FIRST RAILWAY LINE
Rwanda has 2 proposed lines that connect with AIHSRN. On the Northern Corridor Kigali, capital of Rwanda, would connect to Mombasa and Nairobi through Kampala in Uganda and on to north- eastern DRC and South Sudan. This project is on hold due to disagreements between Uganda and Rwanda. Hopefully this will soon be resolved.
Rwanda is now focussing on the Kigali-Isaka line connecting to Dar Es Salaam. An agreement to fast track the line was signed between President Kagame and President Magufuli in March 2020.
Tanzania and Rwanda are dividing the cost of this joint line. Tanzania will pay $2.3 billion for 394km and Rwanda will pay $1.3 for 138km. This will be the first Rwandan railway.Tanzania will build the line to Rusumo situated on the border within Rwanda. Rwanda will then build the line from Rusumo to Kigali.
Tanzania`s Rural Electrification Project
The Tanzanian government have rolled out an ambitious program to connect all of this extremely large country to the national grid. More than 75% of the population live in rural areas. The National Rural Electrification Program through the Rural Energy Agency (REA) aims by 2022, to increase connection from 24% to 35%. Connection to the grid of 24% means that 24% of households have electricity installed in the home.69.8% of people have access to electricity in that there is electricity installed in the community or village.
REA was established in 2007 when only 2% of rural areas had access to electricity. By 2016 this increased to 49%. Currently it is around 70% or higher.
There are 12,268 villages in the country and REA aims to have 100% connected by 2021.
Some people are hesitant to have electricity in the home because of concerns about fire when living in traditional houses with thatched reed roofs, so the national program includes community electricity education to reassure people of its safety. A typical household supply point in rural areas will have 3 sockets. Connection fees apply.
The economic changes of having electricity in the home are revolutionary. Already schools are noticing an upward trend in students grades as they can now study after dark. The changes to domestic and commercial activities is revolutionary. Electricity is an essential for social and economic development. Enterprises that formerly relied on manual techniques or expensive diesel generater power are experiencing the welcome changes.
Bagamoyo Port is an extensive mega port connected to a 1,700 hectare industrial park and special economic zone. This will be Africa`s largest port with capability of handling 20 million containers per year. Construction of the entire project is expected to be completed by 2045.
State-owned China Merchants Port is constructing the port facility and Oman is financing construction of the economic zone.
Bagamoyo is 60km north of Dar Es Salaam. It will have 25% more capacity than Dar Es Salaam Port.
In 2017, Nano Akufo-Addo became president and has put the Ghanaian economy on an entirely new trajectory.
When the new administration came in, 90% of the rail network was non-operational. According to the Minister of Railways, Joe Ghartey, the British left 947km of railway and by 2017, barely 10% was still functional. The last train from Accra to Kumasi on the eastern line was in 2001. On the western line the last train to Kumase, Ghana`s second largest city, was in 2004.
Ghana`s Railway Masterplan is part of the AIHSRN. As Minister of Railways, Joe Ghartey outlined, Ghana`s vision encompasses not just the region but Africa as a whole.
“Standard gauge is what the African Union and ECOWAS have said that the entire Africa should use so that we can have trains that will set off from Djibouti and come all the way to Ghana.”
According to the recently formed Ministry for Railways website, the Ghanaian Railway Masterplan includes:
“To build a modern railway network from the South to the North of Ghana with associated infrastructure.
EXPECTED PROJECT OUTCOME
- Infrastructure development in the towns which will be traversed by the railway lines.
- Facilitate the efficient transportation of passengers and goods.
- Improvement in internal trade and also trade with neighbouring countries.
- Reduction in road maintenance costs and fewer road accidents.
- Lower transport cost for both freight and passengers due to lower cost of transportation by rail.
- Minimum traffic risks with the use of railway line for international carriers.
- Creation of new settlements, industrial parks and economic zones.
- Improvement in tourist activities.
- Job and wealth creation.
- Transformation of the economy.
The railway network is on standard gauge lines with speed of 160 km/hr.
The Western Line is being financed by the Ghanaian Government through the Railway Authority. There are minimal BOT ( Build Operate and Transfer) partners on the Western Line. Three sections, one of which is a viaduct which is the longest in West Africa, are being financed and built by foreign companies.The Eastern Line is being financed by BOT. Financing by BOT is a necessity but not preferable. As Railway Minister, Joe Ghartey, explained, using BOT , the government loose control of the line for 20-30 years.
When Minister Ghartey proposed building the Eastern Line by BOT, he was told it would not be possible. Sections of the line were put out to tender. Over 100 companies bid and out of that, 5 were selected. Those 5 are now vying with each other for the contracts and 2 have petitioned the government! The Railway Authority are now in a position where they can pick and choose who to contract, which proves that Ghana is most definitely not an insignificant West African country in the eyes of investors particularly as railway infrastructure is expensive and reqires expertise in civil engineering.The cost of railway compared to road is much higher but the benefits of rail far exceed those of road.
The Railway Authority will retain 30% ownership of all BOT built lines.
Go To Ouagadougou !
Both Western and Eastern Lines converge in Kumase. President Akofu-Addo has charged the Railway Authority with the job of extending the line to Paga in the north east, bordering Burkina Faso.No railway line has ever gone past Kumase which is not even halfway to Burkina Faso.
The president of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré , said to President Akofu-Addo:
” Don`t just get to Paga, go to Ouagadougou !”
This is the same spirit of unity reflected in President Buhari pushing for the Nigerian northern line to extend into neighbouring Niger.
Transnet of South Africa is involved and an agreement was signed by the South African Railway Operator and Ghana`s government in 2018 to supply and refurbish rolling stock and restore the existing Western Line between Takoradi and Tarkwa .
In 2019, President Akufo-Addo released $230 million to buy rolling stock which is the largest sum to ever be spent in the history of the country on railway equipment. Ghana`s Master Railway Plan is a first for Ghana in so many respects. It is the first time rail travel will be at the speed of 160km/hr, new modern rolling stock is being used and tracks are being built on asphalt, not sand and the rail is going beyond Kumase to the north in order that neighbouring Burkina Faso is connected by rail. Later the Trans-ECOWAS line will connect Togo to Cote D`Ivoire, through Ghana and on to Guinea and Senegal. From Senegal the line will go due east to Djibouti and on it goes the great vision of AIHSRN !
Railway Minister, Joe Ghartey, summed up this vision which is being championed by President Nano Akofu-Addo :
“Railway development cannot be reduced to political partisanship.Railway development is development that lasts for over 50 years.We are not even competing with any political party. Because no political party can compete with what has been done even within in these 2 and a half years [ since 2017].” Minister Ghartley then outlined the critical, revolutionary,mold-breaking firsts that are being achieved by railway development. He continued by saying in his opinion:
“We as a nation should not be reduce everything to NDC NPP [ Ghana`s dominant political parties National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party]. We are developing this nation for Ghanaians regardless of political pursasion.That is the vision of the President, Nano Akufo-Addo, and that is the vision I will assist him to achieve.”
Source of quote:
Accra – Ouagadogou Line is from Accra, the capital and largest city and port, to Ouagadougou , capital of Burkina Faso. This will include the eastern line to Kumasi, second largest city and continue up the central spine and across the border into Burkina Faso.
Takoradi – Kumasi (Western) Line.The Western Rail Line runs from the Takoradi Port to Kumasi with a branch line from Dunkwa to Awaso. It is a total of 339 kilometers
Phase 1 is the rehabilitation of existing infrastructure which by 2015 was a 80% non-functional colonial inheritance with narrow gauge tracks. Richard Dombo, CEO of Ghana Railway Development Authority, explained why money was spent on rehabilitating narrow gauge lines that will be replaced by standard gauge rail as a question of bump-starting the economy and securing future funding.
The eastern line is from Accra-Kumase, the western line is from Takoradi – Kumasi.The central spine runs from Kumase to Gambaga in the north. One of the earliest cash injections came from the manganese mining sector. $390m funding has been secured for the Tema-Akosombo 84km line which is being constructed by an Indian company.
Railways create ancillary industries. In 2017 Ghana opened the first Concrete Sleeper Plant in West Africa. The 80-million dollar Concrete Sleeper Plant in Dawa is owned by Ghanaian company, LMI Holdings. It can cast 416 moulds of sleepers a day for rail construction and will be able to export to other African countries.
The Chinese Development bank has loaned Ghana $2billion, half of which has been allocated to the Railway Authority. The funding is being concentrated on the Central Spine and the Western Line.
Accra – Kumasi (Eastern Line) 300 KM.The Eastern Line covers a distance of 300 km from Accra to Kumasi with a branch line from Accra to Tema. Apart from the 20 km of passenger service – Accra-Tema Line and the 40 km Accra-Nsawam Line,the existing railway is still unusable.There is also a proposed inland rail terminal (Boankra Inland Port) planned for the Eastern Rail Line.
An industrial economic zone is being created at Akosombo,which will be 2000 square acres.
Ports of Tema and Takoradi – These will enhance the railways and give sea access to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
There are 3 mining operations along the Western Line from Tekoradi -Kumasi .Ghana Manganese Mine at Nsuta is 64 km from the port of Takoradi. Recently discovered, copious bauxite deposits at Awaso, 239 kms from Takoradi, have now been allocated a new authority , the Integrated Bauxite Authority,which has the objective of processing the bauxite into finished aluminium products in accordance with President Nana Akufo-Addo`s vision for the industrialization of Ghana. There is also a significantly large iron-ore mine, Opon Manso, in the west with huge potential to develop a steel industry. There is an untapped deposit of 150 million tons.
The last time cocoa, for which Ghana is famous, was transported by rail using the Western Line was 2006 as the line ran into disrepair. The new rail will facilitate the transport of bulk cargo.
The Master Plan includes the Trans-ECOWAS line which is the most crucial to the Masterplan for Ghana and ECOWAS. It starts in Togo and cuts across Ghana to Cote D`Ivoire. It will start in Aflao on the border with Togo and will go due west along the coast of the Gulf of Guinea, connecting Aflao, Keta, Sogakope, Ada, Tema, Accra, Winneba, Mankessim, Anomabo, Cape Coast, Takoradi and Axim It will terminate at Elubo, on the border with Cote d’Ivoire. Total length of the line is approximately 530 kilometres.
The Central Spine is 595km long and will link Kumasi in the central part of Ghana to the town of Paga in the north, on the border with Burkina Faso.At the Kumasi Junction, the Central Line splits into two lines, the Eastern Line and the Western Line.
Minister Ghartey explains the rail network:
ENERGY: The Power to Develop
At the historic FOCAC meeting in 2018, China committed to assisting African countries in industrializing their economies with the Belt and Road Initiative. At the same time Russia showed its willingness to power African industrialization through the expansion of nuclear energy.
According to the IAEA ( International Atomic Energy Agency) 12 countries, nearly one third of the African states, have approached them recently to request feasability studies, namely, Ghana, Egypt, Morocco, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Algeria, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Rwanda.
The World Nuclear Association report that in addition to those 12 countries Libya, Senegal, Tanzania, Namibia and Ethiopia have expressed interest in starting nuclear power programmes.
Hydropower has its drawbacks. It is dependant on rainfall and potentially effected by earthquakes.Transmission distance is a problem in that the dams are usually situated far from cities.Electric current loses its power over distance. Hydro power cannot be a reliable producer of a national base load.The biggest drawback of hydropower is that it is not the most efficient current form of technology.In terms of energy- flux density it is inferior to nuclear power.For African nations, nuclear power means energy sovereignty and the cheapest route to elliminating poverty with fully industrialized economies.
South Africa is currently the only nuclear country in Africa but this is about to change as it is recognized that nuclear energy is the cheapest and most reliable source of power.The urgent need for nuclear technology to be adopted or, as in the case of South Africa, expanded upon, is discussed in THIS article by David Cherry and Phillip Tsokolibane, titled: `South Africa : Nuclear Power or Bust`.
Koeberg, South Africa`s nuclear plant was designed by the French, built by South Africans in the 1980s. It has its own water de-salination plants and is designed to be earthquake proof.
Nii Allotey, Director, Nuclear Power Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, said :
“Energy is the backbone of any strong development. And where do we get energy from? We have hydro, thermal, fossil fuels, and we have local gas—but these are dwindling. They are limited; fossil fuels could run out by 2030. And, the prices are volatile.”
National electrification, with each household having access to electricity, was a priority for Ghana`s first visionary president, Kwame Nkrumah, who started the Kwabenya Nuclear Reactor Project in 1961 which remained unsupported. Nkrumah also initiated the Volta Dam project for hydropower. Ghana has a much higher than average rate of electification which was 85% in 2019. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rate with 57% of the population without access to electricity.
The administration of President Akufo-Addo has put nuclear back on the agenda.In 2015 the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to conduct Phase 1 of a feasability study. This phase has been passed and Ghana is now on Phase 2.
Ghana has operated a 30kW nuclear research reactor for more than two decades.
There are 12 research reactors in Africa, situated in Algeria, Egypt, Libya, DRC, Morocco, Nigeria and South Africa. South Africa, with its emminent role in the world`s nuclear arena, plays a critical part in research and technology world-wide.
Nuclear power as a necessity for Ghana`s industrialization is discussed HERE in an article titled ` Nuclear Energy in Africa – Lessons from Ghana`.
Despite having been advised otherwise by the European Green god, Germany, Kenya is to go ahead with construction of its first nuclear energy reactor in Tana River which will be operational by 2027. It is set to achieve capacity of 4,000 MW by 2035.
The plant will be built near the coast on Kenya`s longest river, Tana River.It will be financed under a BOT ( build, operate and transfer) system.
Unlike South Africa, Kenyan economists are planning for the future needs of electricity supply and demand. President Uhuru Kenyatta implemented the Big Four Action Plan in 2017. Instead of Kenya being famous for `the Big 5` , Kenya is set to change the country from a tourism and agriculture related economy to an industrialized economy capable of elliminating poverty.
“You, the Kenyan people, spoke clearly. We want dignity; we want to put enough food on our tables, and we want a lower cost of living. I listened.I came up with four responses to your concerns. I call them the Big Four: food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable healthcare for all.I am dedicating the energy, time and resources of my Administration to the Big Four. The Big Four will create jobs, which will enable our people to meet their basic needs.”
The 5 Year Plan aims to fast track the ellimination of poverty, according to Agenda 2030.The 4 Key pillars are manufacturing, affordable housing, universal healthcare and food security. Manufacturing is to go up to 15% of GDP and create 1 million new jobs, half a million affordable homes, 100% healthcare and 100% food security which will increase farmers` daily income by 34% and will reduce the cost of food by 47%, as a percentage of income.
The Plan promises to start 1000 new agro-processing small and medium size enterprises and thereby create over half a million new jobs. Agriculture is set to contribute 48% to GDP. Malnutrition in children under 5 is to reach the target of being reduced by 27%. The Plan further promises to subsidize by 100% all essential healthcare and reduce out of pocket medical expenses by 54% by percentage of household expenditure.
Kenya’s energy mix currently consists of geothermal (45 %), hydropower (28 %), wind (13 %) and diesel-run generators (11 %)
The Tana River Nuclear Plant will be financed and constructed by China, Russia, South Korea and Slovakia.
EDGAR LUNGU`S ZAMBIA TO POWER THE FUTURE
Zambia under the presidency of Edgar Lungu is rapidly constructing infrastructure and transforming the physical economy.
Head of Zambia`s Atomic Agency (ZAMATOMA), Dr Roland Msiska, says:
“Nuclear is the technology of Zambia’s future”…”One nice thing about nuclear programme, because of the length in which you have to plan, about 200 years, you’ll have to think inter-generationally because that’s four generations. That’s 20 presidents, if you are talking about each president [serving for] 10 years. You have to plan inter-generationally and implement inter-generationally.”
In April 2019, Dr Msiska led a delegation of officials and journalists to the annual ATOMEXPO which is held in Sochi, Russia, and run by ROSATOM. The journalists were tasked with learning about nuclear technology, including its multiple uses, medical and agricultural, apart from energy production. The journalist have since tackled the many misconceptions held by the public on nuclear technology.
Zambia wanted nuclear energy back in 1969 but it wasn`t until 1980 that the IAEA allowed the first reseach laboratory.In 2006, the IAEA facilitated with the creation of the Cancer Diseases Hospital and Nuclear Medicine Centre.
Under the presidency of Edgar Lungu steps were taken to fast track a nuclear power program. In 2015-16 Zambia lost power capacity and the economy dropped by 40%.This was a result of prolonged regional drought which made hydropower ineffective.
As key to initiating the nuclear program, government started the Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology which is a vehicle for training personnel who will operate the plant and will advance Zambia in science and technology.
The design, feasibility study and approvals for the project have been concluded but as of March 2020, finances are still being arranged between Zambia and Russia.
There are 2 phases of construction, the first being the construction of a Center for Nuclear Science and Technology and the second phase will be construction of a nuclear power plant of 2,400 megawatts capacity.
In September 2019, Russia signed an agreement with Uganda for the development of nuclear power and related technology ( medical, agricultural and industrial applications).
Uganda has large uranium deposits but mining feasability studies have not been undertaken as yet. Uganda’s second National Development Plan and Vision 2040 includes plans to use uranium for nuclear power stations by 2050.
In 2017 Nigeria and Russia signed agreements on the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant and a nuclear research centre. The research centre includes a research reactor. The agreement was signed by Anton Moskin, Vice President of Rosatom and Simon Pesco Mallam, chairman of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC).
Nigeria has been operating its first research reactor , a Chinese Miniature Neutron Source Reactor similar to units operating in China, Ghana, Iran and Syria, at Ahmadu Bello University, since 2004.
Geregu in Kogi State and Itu in Akwa Ibom State are being considered as the sites for the first nuclear power facilities. These will produce 4000MW of reliable base load. It is hoped that the facilities will be completed by 2025.
El Dabaa nuclear power plant will be Egypt’s first nuclear power facility. Construction will start in 2021 and it will be operational by 2026. It is situated 300km from Cairo on the Mediterranean where desalination plants will provide water for cooling. Russia is financing the project with the Egyptian government. Rosatom will design and construct the facility. The agreement between Russia and Egypt was signed in 2015.
El Dabaa will have capacity of 4.8GW. It will meet 50% of Egypt`s electricity needs. 100% of Egyptian households have electricity.
Nuclear powered Egypt is the realization of a dream of its founding father, Abdel Gamal Nasser who initiated efforts back in 1954.
Egypt`s transformation under the presidency of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, beginning with the construction of the New Suez Canal in 2014, is covered in this highly comprehensive case study of Egypt titled `The African Infrastructure Renaissance Along the Belt & Road—A Case Study` by Hussein Askary:
Musina Makhado:self-powered metallurgical special economic zone, South Africa
Musina Makhado, also called, the Power China International Energy Project, is a proposed 4,600MW coal-fired power station in Waterberg, the coal rich region of Limpopo Province, South Africa. Conceived under the presidency of Jacob Zuma, the project will dramatically increase beneficiation of South Africa`s mineral resources. The economic zone will be powered by local coal and operate a coal washing plant, coke production plant (from coal), iron and steel plants, ferro-manganese and ferro-chrome plants as well as a limestone/gypsum plant.
Around 70% of the population in the region live below the poverty line. The zone will not only supply thousands of jobs but these will be skilled and highly skilled jobs. The project will use the most advanced technology in all areas of production which will dramatically increase efficiency and reduce pollution.
Sahiwal is a recently built coal fired power plant in Punjab, Pakistan. It was designed by the Chinese and has near -zero emissions of SO2 and is therefore not polluting the environment.
Hydroelectric, as mentioned in the preceding segment, does have its drawbacks particularly in terms of drought as was experienced by Zambia in the recent southern African drought, which is a regular occurrence that effects southern Africa and is caused by the el Nino weather system. However, apart from the enormous benefit of energy production, dams constructed for hydroelectric serve as vital flood defences by regulating water systems.
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)
Between 40-45% of Ethiopians, around 65 million, do not have access to electricity which is among the lowest energy per capita rates in the continent. Around 600 million Africans, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, do not have access to the electricity grid.
Ethiopia has constructed the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa, 7th largest in the world in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. When it is full to capacity, which will take around 10 years, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will generate 6,450 MW of power for Ethiopia and export to neighbouring east African countries. The project was funded entirely by Ethiopia.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam was initiated in 2011 with the express purpose of creating power for development. Although the country is arid and drought prone, with the Blue Nile being the primary source of fresh water, Ethiopia recognizes that it is not the climate that is causing dire poverty and regular food shortage but a lack of infrastructure and development. The dam is to power industrialization which will lift Ethiopians out of poverty.
The construction of GERD has been politicized by America, with Egypt joining in the caucus of land and water ownership. However, GERD, as with any mega infrastructure will benefit the regions north of the Blue Nile, Egypt and Sudan. The dam will regulate the flood-prone river and thereby prevent flooding in the riparian countries as well as reducing silt and decreasing unnecessary loss of water by evaporation.
The construction of GERD is exceptional in that it is a `win-win` development for Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Egypt, the entire region and hence the continent. This is covered in this article by Lawrence Freeman titled ` Africa Requires Ethiopia Fill Its Dam`.
Also in Ethiopia is the 2,160MW Koysha Hydropower Dam is under construction.It is the 4th hydropower project under construction on Omo River. Gibe -111 was completed in 2016 and is the 3rd largest dam in Africa with a height of 243m. It has capacity of 1,870MW.
DR CONGO`S Grand Inga Dam To LIGHT UP AFRICA
The mighty Congo is China`s great Yellow River. Grand Inga has the potential to generate twice as much electricity as the Three Gorges Dam.It could be the world`s largest hydroelectric plant with an output of 42,000 MW per year. Grand Inga could power Africa.
The Inga Falls are a series of rapids where the Congo River drops 96 meters over a 15km stretch. The longest single drop is 21 meters, making it the longest waterfall in the world.
The Inga Falls are situated near Matadi in Bas-Congo Province. Matadi is the DRC`s main sea port. On the border of Angola, the Congo estuary forms Africa`s largest harbour.
Construction of the dam has been on the drawing board since the 1950s.
Inga 3Power Station with capacity of 4,800 megawatts would be the first in a series of power stations, to be constructed as part of the expansion project that will constitute Grand Inga .
Inga 3 Basse Chute will have a capacity of 1,800 MW and does not need damming of the river. Inga Haute Chute will add an additional 3,000 MW and includes construction of the Grand Inga Dam. Inga 3 incorporates Basse Chute and Haute Chute ( low and high heads of water)components. Eventually the project could also include Inga 4-8.
Turbines at Inga 1 and 2 power stations have been rehabilitated. Inga 1 has been operational since 1972. Inga 1 has capacity of 351-MW and Inga 2 has 1,424-MW capacity. Inga 2 has been operational since 1982.
Presidents Joseph Kabila and Jacob Zuma of DRC and South Africa signed the first MOU in 2011 to initiate the Grand Inga. Former president Zuma said the agreement was a milestone for the SADC region and the African continent:
“The MOU aims at starting the development of large-scale power generation in sub-Saharan Africa, with particular focus on hydropower resources,” Zuma said. “If further seeks to realize the biggest hydropower project, which will not only benefit the people of Congo but will also benefit the entire African continent.”
The MOU also included agreements for South African utility Eskom and DRC utility Societe Nationale d’Electricite to begin the project. Politics and the under-mining of government has been the main obstacle to the fulfillment of the project. Eskom has been subject to a dismantling program which is a foreign, politically driven agenda to decrease South Africa`s industrial capacity. Work on Grand Inga was meant to start in 2015. The anti-energy agenda is still attacking South Africa as can clearly be seen in this article:
In February 2011 AECOM, an American engineering company and French state- owned, Electricite de France, were financed by the African Development Bank, to conduct feasibility studies of Grand Inga and interconnecting transmission lines. The four associated transmission lines (Inga-Nigeria, Inga-Egypt, Inga-South Africa through Zambia and Inga-South Africa through Angola) would total more than 8,000 miles.
Funding for the Grand Inga project is a Public -Private Partnership including the African Development Bank, World Bank, French Development Agency, European Investment Bank and Development Bank of South Africa.
Nigeria: Mambilla hydroelectric power project
This will be Nigeria`s biggest power plant with expected capacity of 3,050MW of electricity, nearly doubling the country’s total electric power production.
The project will connect 4 dams on the Donga River in the eastern Taraba State that borders on Cameroon. There will be two underground powerhouses with 12 turbines and 700km of transmission lines across the country.
It is being financed with 85% funding from the Chinese Export Import Bank and 15% from the Government of Nigeria. Chinese consortium, Gezhouba Group has been awarded the contract. Operation is expected to start in 9 years, 2030. The project has been on the drawing boards since 1972. Construction began in 2017.
Kashimbila Multipurpose Dam NIGERIA
Kashimbila hydroelectric project in Taraba State in eastern Nigeria is in progress. It will have capacity of 40MW and provide drinking water for 40 000 people and irrigation for Taraba State, 3,000 hectares of cultivated land. It is on the border with Cameroon and an active volcanic region with highly fertile soil. The water treatment facility will provide 60 000 cubic meters per day of potable water.
Lake Nyos which is a lake that has formed in a volcanic crater, regularly overflows during the rainy season. Kashimbila dam, which is fed by the lake will regulate water and prevent flooding of the Katsina-Ala River and protect 6 million people, mainly living in Taraba, Benue, Cross River, Kogi and Delta States.
The Karuma Hydroelectric Power Station, Uganda
Sinohydro Corporation Ltd is the contractor for Karuma Dam which is financed by Exim Bank of China. The completion is impending but behind schedule.The dam is northern Uganda on the White Nile between Lake Victoria and Lake Kyoga.It has capacity of 600MW. The Karuma Falls are on the Victoria Nile
The project has three major high voltage transmission lines . The 248km Karuma to Kawanda line, the 55km Karuma to Olwiyo town in Nwoya district and the 75km Karuma to Lira line. There are 4 sub-stations.
The Isimba Hydropower Plant with capacity of 183MW, was completed in 2019. It was financed by China and constructed by China International Water and Electric Cooperation.
Between the two dams, Uganda`s electricity output will double. At present less than 30% of Ugandans have access to the national grid.
The Bujagali Dam is on the Nile River, close to Lake Victoria. It has capacity of 250MW and was completed in 2012.
Cote D`Ivoire : West Africa`s largest hydropower plant
The Soubre hydroelectric power station is operational since 2017, and is West Africa`s largest. It is on the Naoua Falls on the Sassandra River. It has capacity of 275MW. Cote D`Ivoire already has 2000 MW which means it can now be a regional supplier of power.Construction began in 2013 by Sinohydro of China. Construction was completed ahead of schedule.
Soubre was on the drawing boards since the 1970s but it was only realized in recent years thanks to funding from China`s Exim bank with an 85% loan.
The Gribo-Popoli hydro-plant , 15km downstream, will expand on Soubre and increase output by another 112MW.
Pwagulu Multipurpose Dam : Ghana
This project has been championed by President Akufo Addo and is the largest investment ever made in northern Ghana which has higher levels of poverty compared to other regions. It will generate economic activity. Sinohydro are the contractors.
Pwagulu is on the White Volta River.The dam will an elevation of 165m and maximum reservoir of 350 square kilometres. It will have 60MW capacity and will feed an irrigation sytem to cover around 25 000 hectares with canals. The irrigation system will transform the region`s agricultural sector through maize and rice cultivation. Rice yield is expected to reach 117,000 tonnes and maize 49,000 tonnes thereby contributing to the target of national food self-sufficiency. The dam will also regulate water from the Bagre Dam which is prone to flooding.
Making it a first for Ghana, Pwagulu incorporates a floating photo-voltaic system with 50MW capacity.
Another of Ghana`s multipurpose dams is the Bui Dam which has 400MW capacity and is on the Black Volta River. It has been operational since 2013. Constructed by Sinohydro and financed by China`s Exim Bank, it too, serves an irrigation system that feeds 30 000 hectares of land. It also supports a fishing industry.
Caculo Cabaca Hydropower Project in Angola
Angola is sub Saharan Africa`s third largest economy after Nigeria and South Africa. There are 28 million Angolans of whom only 7 million had access to the national grid as of 2017. The government intend to increase energy access by 60% by 2025 and to increase production capacity by 9.900MW by 2025.
Caculo Cabaca Hydro-Plant will be the largest power plant in Angola with capacity of 2,172MW. It is expected to be completed by 2024 and will meet more than half of Angola`s current energy needs. It is being constructed by China’s Gezhouba Group (CGGC). It is on the Cuanza River, the country’s longest waterway, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the capital of Luanda.
Laúca Hydroelectic Dam ,Angola
Laúca Dam has been operational since 2017. It has 2,070MW capacity which will meet the needs of around 8 million homes.. The facility is owned by Angloa`s Empresa Nacional de Electrcidade. Brazilian firm, Odebrecht was the contractor. It is Angola`s largest plant with a colossal dam wall 156 metres tall more than 1.2 kilometres wide.
Cambambe 2 is an expansion of an existing hydroelectric plant with 4 additional turbines which will have additional capacity of 180MW.
SUPPORTING INFRASTRUCTURE : BRIDGES
The Brazzaville-Kinshasa Bridge
Construction of the Brazzaville-Kinshasa Bridge will begin this year, 2021. The bridge will span the Congo River and link the two capital cities of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. It is a vital road-rail bridge that will form part of the supporting infrastructure along the AIHSRN Central Corridor which will link Point Noire in the Republic of Congo on the Atlantic to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania on the Indian Ocean. It is being financed by the African Development Bank.
Msikaba Bridge South Africa
This is the second longest in Africa. It is a cable stayed bridge under construction by Mota Engil and Concor Infrastructure. The bridge spans the Msikaba Gorge in the Eastern Cape and is part of the Wild Coast N2 project. It has a 580m span and supporting arches that are 127m high. The deck is 194m above the floor of the gorge which makes it the third highest in Africa. The Bloukrans Bridge in the Western Cape of South Africa is 216m high and the Mtentu, also in the Eastern Cape, once constructed will be the highest at 223m high. The Msikaba Bridge will benefit this area of high unemployment by creating jobs during the 4-5 years of construction. After construction it will facilitate access to the area for goods, trade and tourism.
Africa`s first floating bridge Mombasa-Likoni Bridge
Around 300 000 people per day use crowded ferries to cross from Liwatoni on Mombasa Island to Ras Bofu (Peleleza) in Likoni . Mombasa is Kenya`s second largest city with a population of 1.2 million. Kilindini Harbour services Mombasa and is East Africa`s busiest port.
At the start of the pandemic, Kenya`s President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned a temporary bridge to relieve congestion.It has been his special project to protect Kenyans and stop the spreading of Covid.
The pedestrian bridge has a total length of 1.2 km. The middle section, 241.52m, floats and is supported either end by fixed structures.The middle section floats on pontoons and opens up on an anchorage system, to allow shipping traffic to access the harbour. The bridge deck is 6m across.
The bridge will eventually be replaced by the Mombasa Gateway Bridge. Construction started on May 20, 2020 and is a joint venture between China Road and Bridge Construction and Kenya National Highways Authority.The government has fully funded the project.
It was completed by mid-December and was opened for a few hours on Christmas day as a gift to the nation. Residents and government officials walked together over the bridge on a very joyful first crossing! It will be officially opened on January 1 by President Kenyatta.
The project shows not only committment to the well being of the nation but also that African governments are starting to think like China in terms of how problems can be quickly solved by innovative technology and mega infrastructure!
Maputo – Katembe
This is the longest suspension bridge in Africa and was completed in 2018. It spans Maputo Bay in Mozambique and connects the capital city with the district of Katembe.It is 3km long and 680m wide and was financed and constructed by China.It is a main corridor for travel between South Africa, Eswatini and Mozambique. Previously, negotiating Maputo Bay took 9 hours. The travel time is now reduced to 4 hours.
Senegal – Mauritania Bridge
The Rosso Bridge is under construction. It will span the Senegal River from Senegal to Mauritania. Chinese engineering firm, Poly Changda has been awarded the contract.The length of the bridge is 1.46km. The main financer is the African Development Bank.The bridge forms part of the Trans-African Corridor, and is designed to improve the economy in the region in both countries.It is an excellent example of infrastructure strengthening cooperation and integration in Africa.
The bridge will make easy access from Rosso-Senegal to Rosso-Mauritania which is only currently accessible by ferry. Both parts of the city will benefit from the bridge as funding has also been allocated to modernizing roads, market places, stations, educational and healthcare facilities. Water infrastructure will also be modernized with the expansion of water sanitation facilities. The Higher Institute of Technology will also receive funding for its rehabilitation.
This is a very important part of the Trans-Africa N-S Corridor and is a bridge connecting Botswana and Zambia over the Zambezi River, currently only having a ferry service. It is 930m long and 18.5m wide.It will connect Central and Southern Africa and connect to sea ports, namely Durban in South Africa and Maputo in Mozambique. The bridge is completed and once legalities of the two new border posts are finalized, it will be opened. The bridge is a vital connection between Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and South Africa.
Botswana`s Minister of Transport and Communications, Mr Thulagano Segokgo,said :
“This state-of-the-art infrastructure will among others facilitate quick access to international markets through connectivity with major seaports as well as contribute to maximizing the operational efficiency of the corridor and enhance regional economic integration…Our strategic partnership in the project should enhance development and competitiveness of our economies to improve the prospects of attracting more private sector investment and create the much needed jobs.”
Mohembo Bridge is another in Botswana and is set to be completed in May 2021.It is on the border post between Namibia and Botswana, situated on the northern end of the Okavango, bordered by Namibia and Zimbabwe. The bridge will encourage trade and tourism to the Okavango region. This is a particularly beautiful piece of infrastructure.
The One District One Factory Industrialization Project is a program to make use of domestic products and resources. Firstly the program aims to create massive employment in Ghana`s rural communities.Secondly it aims to create value-adding to Ghana`s natural resources both in agriculture and minerals.Thirdly to promote import substitution and to stop importing goods that can be made in Ghana.
As of December, 76 factories are operational. 107 are under construction.
Industry has accounted for 25% of GDP but now Ghana is the 38th fastest growing economy in the world with a pre-Covid growth rate of 7.8% as its manufacturing grows.This is due to government policy of supporting small and medium size businesses and pushing the industrialization agenda. Currently, one Ghana`s main exports is finished aluminium products.Ghana has its own smelting plant VALCO, a state-owened facility situated at Tema , which processes the country`s abundant bauxite. Ghana Integrated Aluminum Development Corporation (GIADEC) which runs the smelter has recently put out to tender, a massive upgrade of the plant. Three new bauxite mines are going to become operational, as well as at least 2 new refineries which will create 35,000 domestic jobs and develop the aluminium industry which will create ancillary industries related to manufacturing.
VALCO is a national treasure, built in 1948, it continues to be productive despite many set-backs related to the powering of the plant. The Akosombo Dam or Volta Dam was built in 1961 to provide hydroelectric power not just to the smelter but to the national electrification program that was championed by Nkrumah and later, Rawlings.
Ghana`s other exports include cement due to the abudant lyme deposits, small commercial ship building , food and beverage processing, processed wooden products, glass making industries,textiles and processed metal products, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. These are the inheritance of Kwame Nkrumah who focussed on his vision of strengthening the economy by import substitution. Nkrumah sought to end the colonial cycle of exporting raw materials and re-importing the processed products at great cost, as manufacturing is key to creating a modern economy. Under Nkrumah manufacturing as a percentage of GDP increased from 10% in 1960 to 14% by 1970.
The manufacturing sector suffered under IMF policy throughout the 1980, 1990 and 2000s. Since his inauguaration in 2017, President Akufo-Addo has implemented new economic policy of which manufacturing is a key element. In 2017, the government begun the One District One Factory national industrialization policy. Ghana is divided into 16 administrative regions which are further divided into 254 districts.
The I District 1 Factory project will include all 254 districts. Communities are being encouraged to exploit local resources and produce. The government is equipping and empowering communities to identify business opportunities for manufacted products in demand both domestically and internationally.Existing small and medium industries are being supported by government with incentives to boost production. The participating 1D1F firms are provided with tax breaks, loans, financial advice, investor connection and a range of highly supportive initiatives.
Ghana is aiming for food sovereignty. Domestic agriculture is being modernized with irrigation and other commercial farming necessitities. Processing of vegetables and fruit is becoming an increasingly successful industry. Under the 1D1F program, Ghanaian companies such as Casa Ropa have started a sweet potato processing factory which produces a range of delicious sweet potato- based products including potato bread, pizza , chips,sweet pastries such as donuts, noodles, biscuits,fried snacks and savoury pastries and pies! All products are nutritious and sugar free. The quality of the soil allows for full organic farming which does not have the higher cost of chemical fertilizer which degrades the soil over time and reduces the country`s import costs. The same applies to the products being sugar-free. Ghana does not produce sugar from beet or cane and therefore has to import it. There is therefore both a health benefit and economic benefit.
The agro-business produces its own sweet potatoes on the commercial farm which has irrigation sprinklers that can water 25 acres per day, per sprinkler .The water is from two purpose built dams. The farm had an area of 1000 acres under cultivation in 2018, with access to a total of 220 hectares, under the local grower scheme.The potatoes take 90 days to harvest and are then processed at the processing factory which is based on the farm. The factory is a super modern fully mechanized facility, equipped with bread processors that can produce 240 loaves in 20 minutes. The factory has already gained interest from a French importer due to the high quality of the products which are naturally gluten free and sugar free.
Health Benefits for Ghana`s Children
Casa De Ropa is situated at Gomoa Bewadze in the Gomoa West District of the Central Region. The region is already benefitting from the project in more than just employment creation. The CEO of Casa De Ropa, Ebenezer Obeng Baffoe, said that it would be a revolution in health as well as employment :
“It has vitamin A that is very good for children and help people who react negatively to artificial sugar. We do not add sugar to any of our products. The economic potentials are overwhelming.”
“The government purchasing power will be explored to generate additional market. The school feeding program from primary school to secondary school, the prisons, hospitals and other institutions of the like where imported food items are served can be complimented by the numerous recipes from the sweet potatoes. The export market will be keenly looked into for both the fresh roots and the processed products,”
As of 2020 Casa De Ropa was employing 1004 people with 150 working in the factory. Indirect employment is increasing with the region`s farmers being encouraged to grow that variety of sweet potato under a grower scheme. Currently there are 359 farmers from the region who produce for the farm. These farmers have anything from 1 acre to 15 acres. The scheme therefore supports even the smallest growers providing a reliable income.
Casa Ropa has been funded by the Exim Bank of Ghana which is the creditor of the 1D1F program. President Nana Akufo-Addo visited the factory and was delighted by what he saw:
“This is real a game changer. This represents what I have been preaching about growing what we eat and eating what we grow. Government will offer all the support needed for the thriving of this burgeoning industry.”
He said that Casa De Ropa is exactly what the government wants the 1D1F project to bring about and will continue to enable the private sector to create productive employment, commercialize agriculture, expand manufacturing empower communities and uplift the entire nation.
“The idea about the One District, One Factory, has been manifested here at Casa De Ropa; the Provision of jobs and the production of food for the consumption of the people. Government is on course to change the situation of the Ghanaian through this.”
In December 2020, President Akufo-Addo inauguarated the Bodukwan Multi-Fruit Processing Factory, another 1D1F enterprise. The equipment which has been acquired from Italy, can process 10 tonnes per hour of fresh fruit and vegetables into packaged concentrate. The products will be for domestic consumption as well as export. The company is part of a 100%Ghananain owned conglomerate. All fruit and vegetables are being supplied by a local growers scheme from both commercial and small scale farms.
Ghanaian Ekumfi Fruit and Juices Ltd is another 1D1F project which grows, processes and packages organic fruit juice whose first class processing facilities retain maximum nutritional value. The company has created 5000 jobs in the Central Region.They process 80 tonnes of pineapple per day!
This industry,as with all the others will benefit immeasurably from Ghana`s new Master Railway Network.
Mckay Sall`s Senegal
President Mackay Sall was elected in 2012. He initiated the Emerging Senegal Plan which is based upon the construction of physical infrastructure as a strategy to build the economy and alleviate poverty.
Diamniadio Lake City, has been on the drawing boards for many years and is now beginning as West Africa`s most modern city, in competion with Ghana Gold City and Wakanda,which are being planned in Ghana. Other new cities are Modderfontein in Gauteng, South Africa; Konza Technopolis in Kenya and the New Administrative Capital in Egypt. Being planned are also Enyimba Economic City in Nigeria, Eko Atlantic City and Abuja Centenary City, Nigeria. There is also the Djibouti Business District and Vision City in Rwanda which is a massive residential complex in Kigali.
Diamniadio is due for completion in 2029, it is 30 km from Dakar.It is said to be one of the most stunning, futuristic cities in the world.It will be 4000 acres in size and include a university and industrial park. The design includes building facades made of copper, steel and glass.
President Alassane Oattara was recently re-elected. His administration is highly successful in driving forward the industrialization of Cote D`Ivoire under President Ouattara`s National Development Plan. . His government is focussing on two key areas. Cote D`Ivoire is expanding on value-adding to agricultural produce and benefication of mineral resources into manufactured products. The government is constructing infrastructure and increasing the country`s energy output.
Value addition is being built on with all of the commodities such as cocoa,coffee, cashew nuts and cotton. Cote D`Ivoire now makes chocolate bars, as does Ghana. Most of the world`s cocoa beans are grown in the West African states of Cote D`Ivoire and Ghana. Cote D`Ivoire produces around 1.7 million tonnes annually and Ghana 897,000 tonnes.Ivory Coast has been aiming to process 50 percent of its own cocoa to cocoa powder, butter or chocolate by 2020.
President Buhari has been a lone champion of the Transaqua Project. This would be the greatest transformative mega-engineering project that the world, let alone Africa, has ever seen. It is the mother of all inter-regional and international infrastructure that would wipe colonialism in all its forms, from the face of the continent for good.
As shown in this overview, transformative changes are taking place, all across the magnificient continent, in what seems to becoming an increasingly integrated effort as countries unite with neighbours.The greatest transformations are being brought about under those countries, fortunate enough to have strong and visionary leadership. Where such leadership is sadly lacking, so is any emergence of the new paradigm. Thomas Sankara, former president of Burkina Faso, once said that we must dare to invent the future. It is a courageous act. Inventing an industrialized economy for any African leader has always been a dangerous intention. But the reward for such vision is immortality because Africans never forget true leadership. As the visionary Kwame Nkrumah said:
“I am not African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me“
PD Lawton is an analyst, author and Editor-in-Chief of Africa Agenda: A New Perspective on Africa. This article was republished with permission of the author from her website Africa Agenda: A New Perspective on Africa.
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