The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ecobank Plc, Jubril Aku has said that as West Africa including Nigeria continues to seek increased regional Co-operation and integration, the region is capable of attracting about $500 billion investment in large scale generation, transmission and distribution projects in the next five years.
Speaking at the annual West Africa Power Industry Convention (WAPIC) in Lagos, the Ecobank CEO however said that this feat can only be achieved if there is a general governance reforms. According to him the region can also witness an accelerated energy growth in the sub region by up to 30 percent.
He further explained that a better understanding of infrastructure funding by financial institutions; reduction in power outages by half; raising accessibility to power in the urban areas; better management of resources and revenues will also raise the region’s per-capita incomes.
“The multiplier effect of a stable power supply across the West African region is very high as it will encourage accelerated of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). There will be improved Industrialization across the region. It will enhance the growth of small scale business and attract more large firms that can produce goods that will meet international supply” he said.
Furthermore, the bank Chief argued that increasing power supply within the region will bring about import substitution that will help switch demand to local domestic substitutes and expand export to increase the foreign exchange earnings of the countries. “There will be Stabilization of a single Inflation rate across West African” he said.
Aku advised local and foreign investors interested in investing more in the Nigerian power sector to be patient in seeking for their return on investment. Power sector, he said is not like oil trading or capital market investment where the return on investment is within a short period of time. He pointed out that investment in power sector requires tenacity in planning and execution. According to him, it is not an area where you put down money today and expect your return the next day but requires proper strategic research and planning.
Irked by the quick return on investment syndrome in Nigeria, the Ecobank Chief, who spoke through the Bank’s Country Head, Power and Energy, Mrs Olufunke Jones, said that any foreign or local investor seeking to make quick money in the power sector should forget about such idea because it will not work. He noted that the current assets owners of the unbundled PHCN had worked night and day in research and field work to be able to acquire and run the nation’s power assets. “Any foreign investor seating back in his country asking young professors at the Harvard University to carry out research and proffer investment solutions for Nigeria power sector without coming down to Nigeria to see things for himself is not worth investing in Nigeria” he said.
Meanwhile he explained that Sub-Saharan Africa is home to major energy producers adding that by 2040, renewable energy will provide more than 40 percent of power generation in the region. “When we all as a people come to the realization that the responsibility of building the Sub-Region is strongly connected to the growth and development of the power sector, then we will be ready to grow the region for a better tomorrow and as a people reposition West-Africa and indeed Africa placing her where she should truly be” he said.