The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, voiced his support for South Africa’s bid to procure nuclear energy.
In a visit to South Africa on Friday, Adesina said that most countries are using nuclear energy and there is no reason why South Africa shouldn’t be using it.
“South Africa has determined what its energy mix is and that was determined in Cop 21 in Paris. That energy mix includes reducing a lot of its share in coal from the current rate of about 95 per cent down to about 60 per cent and it’ll increase its share in nuclear from about 9 per cent to 23 per cent. Every country decides what its energy mix is and I think South Africa is going on a very important direction because you need to have stable, affordable, electricity,” says Adesina.
Adesina was in the country to see the progress made on the US$1.6 billion the bank has invested in the Medupi Power Plant, which is part of the US$3.6 billion it has invested in South African electricity utility, Eskom.
Adesina says the African Development Bank will invest a further US$12 billion into Africa’s energy sector over the next five years.
“Seeing this Medupi plant makes me very proud of South Africa. I’m also proud to be an African. To have a country that generates the largest coal fire plant in the world is incredible just to see. It allows South Africa to be able to export five per cent of its energy to other countries like Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland and so on,” says Adesina.
Adesina says the African Development Bank has set out five priorities to help Africa advance in its development, the most important one being to light up and power Africa. He says the bank is also looking to feed Africa (through agriculture), integrate the continent, industrialise it and improve the quality of life for its people.
Adesina also acknowledged Africa’s economic growth rate which is at 4.4 per cent, saying it is better than the global economic rate which stands at 3.3 per cent. He urged African countries to diversify their economies and also made emphasis in the need to stop exporting raw material.
“Africa has no business in exporting raw material. It has to process and add value to our economies,” says Adesina.