Tag: Dumsor


Ghana Government seeks new dawn for struggling power sector

Ghana’s new government is looking to fix a crippling power crisis with a complete overhaul of its deficit-ridden energy sector including a boost for solar energy.

Intermittent power supply issues have dogged the west African nation since the 1980s and became particularly acute in the last five years — although there has been some improvement recently.

President Nana Akufo-Addo blames his predecessor John Dramani Mahama whose energy policies, he said last month, had led to “gargantuan debt”.

Ghana’s energy sector was crushed by an accumulated debt of $2.4 billion, he said, as the cost of buying in fuel, paying energy suppliers and running inefficient state companies spiralled out of control.

Its bad financial situation “constitutes the single major hurdle to Ghanaians enjoying reliable and affordable electricity supply”, he said last month in his first State of the Nation address.

Improvements in the provision of power were seen in the run-up to December’s election but Akufo-Addo said the challenges within the sector were far from over and high costs were a major stumbling block.

Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) has now begun to develop a new electricity masterplan, which also includes possibly listing state-owned power generation and supply companies on the stock exchange.

Such asset sales would not only move the underperforming utilities off the government’s books, but private ownership may well make them more efficient, experts say.

This year’s budget also included ambitious plans for renewable energy to provide two to three percent of supply to the national grid and, in addition, develop 38,000 solar-powered homes in “off-grid” communities.

– Here comes the sun –

Harnessing the power of Africa’s most abundant free resource — the sun — to provide electricity has long been a challenge for governments across the continent.

In Ghana there are hopes that more people will sign up to a 500-watt solar panel scheme started under Mahama for homes and businesses. The panels come free, but takers must still foot start-up costs of around $1,500.

The Energy Commission wants to see 200,000 such systems installed, but the scheme’s coordinator, Kenneth Appiah, says since it was launched in February last year only 409 units have been installed.

Among those who have received the panels — each installation is worth about $450 — is accountancy lecturer Daniel Nkrumah-Afyeefi.

He said the programme was a good starting point to get his home off the grid and he planned to add more panels to lower food refrigeration costs and avoid hot, sleepless nights.

“When you live in a place like Accra and you need to store food items, when power runs off and on like that some of the things get spoiled,” he told AFP.

“You tend to be buying as and when you eat, and that ends up increasing your cost of purchasing food items.”

– Business suffers –

Ghana has seen four different power crises since 1982 due to low water levels in the country’s dams, said Ishmael Ackah, head of policy at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy.

In 1997, the country began using thermal energy to complement hydro-electric power but struggles to keep its power stations going at full capacity, as the economy grows and demand increases.

Nigeria has been a major supplier of gas and oil but that has been erratic, as Ghana has struggled to pay its bills.

Scheduled rolling electricity blackouts to ration power — known locally as “dumsor” — have in recent years had a knock-on effect on businesses and productivity, and led to street demonstrations.

A 2015 report by Ghana’s Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research indicated the country was losing some $2.2 million a day because of the energy shortfall.

The government is hoping domestic oil and gas supply from offshore fields will help cut the energy deficit, alongside solar, for the country’s 27 million people.

Energy minister Boakye Agyarko has said he wants all government departments to be solar powered and vowed to “step on the accelerator and make sure we do even more than we are doing now”.

A British-based firm, Blue Energy, is hoping to build a huge solar farm in western Ghana by December this year, with a capacity of up to 155 megawatts.

Ackah said there is hope that solar power’s share in the overall energy mix will soar by the end of the decade.

“It is 0.5 percent in 2017. We are supposed to get 10 percent in the next three years,” he said.

Source: https://www.independent.co.ug/ghana-seeks-new-dawn-struggling-power-sector/

Me Firi Ghana (@Me_FiRi_GHANA)

Home Truths for the Homeland

Accra-floods

Accra Floods

Watching the Accra floods unfold across my TV and across social media timelines, a sadness and anger triggered within me. And frustration. And a realisation. As much as we love Ghana and for all we have achieved in recent years, there are home truths we’ve not been paying enough attention to. The cedi’s value has become a shambolic mess. Oil we apparently struck a few years back – what happened to the money? Infant/maternal mortality is another simmering issue which charities such as the GUBA Foundation are helping bring to the spotlight. The quality of schooling is poor, as has been recently publicised.

And don’t get me started on dumsor, an issue which is proving to be a terminal illness to business around the country and is as tiresome as the daily debate around it and the attempts to resolve it.

 

In June 2015, The Wall Street Journal noted the following – ‘[Accra is] perhaps the continent’s best example of an urban middle class. In 2011 it was the 2nd-fastest growing economy on EARTH…but [even then] below the city, its infrastructure was crumbling. Power has been off TWO-THIRDS of the time since January, because until recently Accra received almost all of its electricity from a 49-year old hydrodam that hadn’t been getting enough rain. Stop lights are frequently out, jamming up roads that haven’t been broadened. Ports are perpetually backlogged. And the city sewers are especially old…many of them dating back to the British colonial rule.’

 

That excerpt illuminates the fact that the floods in Accra, which produced images akin to a Hollywood disaster film, was a disaster waiting to happen – a landmine lying in wait beneath our foundations, for the right amount of pressure to trigger things to explode and implode.

IMG_5139And this is the crux of the problem. There are issues in Ghana that have been there from the days of Kwame Nkrumah. That’s not good enough. Nkrumah planned to get the Akosombo dam built to match demand at the time; not to meet demand in the future! The dam wasn’t *the* dream; it was the *beginnings* of a dream, for Ghana to start being more self-sufficient, stable and increasingly productive. The issue is we’ve accepted that standard as our ceiling. That standard was set 60 years ago you know. 60 years…

You see, my issue is that it’s not every day ‘build a Trasacco Valley’ or West Hills Mall to act like Ghana is ‘ballin’’, thinking that’s indicative of success. It’s not. Ghana rather needs to prioritise and concentrate on things which may seem simple, but as these floods have shown, are vital. We need to focus on investing and developing the fundamentals.

Things like electricity, water, roads and transport, education, hospitals and healthcare services

…but no. We want to make ourselves look better than we are by building residential areas where only the rich & powerful can afford to live, and building malls where only the rich can afford to shop.

 

Ghana is focused on building its roof when we haven’t even finished laying the foundations –  and that’s a crying shame. That’s why we have cholera outbreaks in Accra, by-the-renewing-of-your-mind-how-to-have-a-strong-foundation-1200x1161why large swathes of the country go without power for days. And that’s why we had a situation like the flood crisis – it was a system failure more than a natural disaster, exposing the fact that despite the energy and resources we’ve put into paving our roof, our house is infested and the foundations aren’t sound.

Our priorities need to change. For we need to realise the truths and stop the cyclical behaviours which fail to demand accountability from those in power and allow us to become complacent and accept inefficiencies as the status quo. Only then, will we finally be set free and realise the perfectness of the Independence dream.

 

By Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

Review: Ghanaians in Parliament with London Mayoral Candidates

Ghanaians in Parliament: forging political partnerships

Kwasi  Kwarteng, Adam Afriyie and Sam Gyimah are the three MPs of Ghanaian heritage that spring to mind when I think of Ghanaians in Parliament… not a group of men and women from my motherland milling about metres from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.

portic

Portcullis House

But that is exactly what The Ghana Society created when it organised ‘Ghanaians in Parliament with London Mayoral candidates’ at Portcullis House. Ghanaians from all walks of life rubbed shoulders with MPs and London Mayor hopefuls under the banner of forging stronger trading ties between Ghana and the UK.

Ghanaian connections

Fittingly, the event, which as MCed by broadcaster Owusu Frimpong, was staged on Ghana Republic Day on 1 July and hosted by Kelvin Hopkins MP. Mr Hopkins has a long association with Ghana. He is also good friends with The Ghana Society UK  founder Maria Ampah Lovell and it seems is something of a regular at Ghana’s social events. But his ties with Ghana are deep and stretch back to his school days when he had the privilege of watching a game between amateur footballers from the former British colony play in England against Their colonial masters.

The then-called Gold Coast team played BAREFOOT except for bandages on their feet and yet still managed to beat the home team!!!!

 

London mayoral candidates

Healthy competition is always good, as is partnership and trade which were central themes to the Westminster meeting. uk ghDiscussion centred on how the UK can collaborate with Ghana to foster these longstanding ties. Panellists comprising writers, economists and politicians used the floor to explore how Ghana’s mineral wealth, manpower and expertise can be partnered with the UK.

And this is where contributions from London’s mayoral candidates was key. Some homed in on the need to celebrate multiculturalism …but for me the ones that stuck out were those that were able to draw parallels between Ghana and the UK.

Let’s hope that in the same way that incumbent mayor Boris Johnson has flown the flag for UK-India trade collaborations, these same seeds of change can be planted in the minds of Boris’ successor.

 

solarSolar energy

So Tom Chance, who is standing to be the Green Party’s mayoral candidate, highlighted that like the UK, Ghana has ambitious plans to tackle climate change. He  touched on plans in Ghana to increase solar generation capacity by 6% by 2016.

Something I think we can all agree couldn’t come a day too soon for our brothers and sisters languishing under ‘dumsor’. ‘Dumsor’ or load shedding occurs when there is not enough power to deliver electricity to everyone in an area, forcing some people to go without.

In fact, it is UK-based Blue Energy, an investor and developer of renewable energy projects, that is helping Ghana achieve its 6% increase in solar generation capacity by 2016. The company is constructing the 155-megawatt Nzema solar project in Ghana. Overall, however, Ghana has a target to generate 10% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

 

Salt

Kofi Addo of the Ghana High Commission and agro-processing expert Anthony Ayakwah stressed the importance of harnessing Ghana’s resource base and adding value to the raw materials. Salt production in Ghana is an opportunity that isn’t being taken full advantage of, he stressed. Despite Ghana having enough salt to more than meet domestic consumption, Ghana imports salt 1tonnes from Brazil. And if only technology in cashew production in Ghana were more cutting edge, areas such as Wenchi in Ghana’s middle belt would be in a position to meet the needs of the UK market.

But not everyone agree with this model of trade partnership. Prospective Labour mayoral candidate Christian Wolmar observed that it seemed the rhetoric of adding value to Ghana’s resources and forging stronger UK-Ghana trade partnerships had not moved on since his early days as an economist more than 40 years ago. He questioned whether it wasn’t time for Ghana to focus its development around its own needs instead of trying to emulate the West.

Thought provoking stuff. But enough about what I think – see for yourself.

Here are some brief clips from the event:

Introduction

Ghanaian opera singer

Anthony Ayakwah on agro-processing

 

By Kirsty Osei-Bempong (MisBeee Writes)

Article taken from here