Electricity generation varies significantly between African countries. The continent’s two largest electricity generators, South Africa and Egypt, account for nearly 60% of the continent’s total generation. Such countries as Ghana and Kenya also show a confident level of energy sector development. However, according to the World Energy Outlook, published by the International Energy Agency, only about 30% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa has an access to electricity and more than 600 million people lack it. Only seven countries—Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Ghana, Namibia, Senegal and South Africa—have electricity access rates exceeding 50 percent. The rest of the region has an average grid access rate of just 20 percent. Moreover, even if there is access to electricity, there may not be enough to go around.
This way, the development of sustainable energy mix of different energy sources will allow to unleash huge potential of African countries like Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. In this case nuclear energy combined with other clean sources can become a major driver to put forward the whole energy sector in African countries.
“The correlation between standard of living and energy usage is virtually synonymous, since what is considered a measure of a comfortable life necessarily includes refrigeration, lighting, transportation, heating and air conditioning, electronics for both entertainment and business, and other appurtenances that consume energy”, argues Tom Blees, the president of the Science Council for Global Initiatives.
Consequently, the rapid development of the power industry and the economy as a whole can ensure the growth of the middle class, faster urbanization, an increase in the output of enterprises, and the emergence of high-tech agriculture and medicine.
To achieve this, African countries will need to work out a balanced strategy for the development of the power industry which will include the use of diverse and clean energy sources. Countries such as Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana, are planning to rapidly develop a balanced power industry in accordance with new and diverse strategies. The transformation of countries into responsible and gainful members of the international community is a top priority.
For this reason, nuclear energy and science is vital for Ghana’s development. Mr Ebenezer Appiah-Opare, Legal Director at the The Nuclear Regulatory Authority, notes that Ghana joined the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1961 and implemented the Ghana Nuclear Reactor projects with a research reactor designed solely for research training and production. Mr Appiah-Opare said the objective was to facilitate the development of manpower and to promote the introduction of nuclear power for electricity to support Ghana’s industrialization program. By the present, within the framework of this national nuclear development program Ghana has achieved success in all the 19 infrastructural issues to be considered prior to the commencement of the operation of a Nuclear Power Program (NPP).
This more or less completes the first of the three phases of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) required milestone approaches for every newcomer country to achieve before the development of a national infrastructure for nuclear power. The other two phases involve the preparatory work for the construction of a nuclear power plant after a policy decision has been taken, and finally ensuring activities to implement a first nuclear power plant.
All things considered, there is no denying the fact that nuclear energy offers the opportunity to grow sustainable economies, and provides a cheaper alternative to other sources of power for both domestic and industrial uses. In the long term, Ghana will be able to overcome energy shortage, and successful usage of nuclear power will become an impetus for economic development in the country.