Senegal is increasingly asserting its desire to generalize access to electricity. The country which, however, less than 5 years ago, faced an energy deficit punctuated by daily power cuts, has entered a new era, as confirmed by officials of the country’s National Electricity Company.
On the continent, Senegal is the 8th country in terms of access to electricity, said Abdoulaye Dia, secretary general of the National Electricity Company (Sénélec). In October 2016, 57% of households in urban areas had access to electricity and 30% had access to it in rural areas.
Today, with only some 70 hours of cuts each year, the country of téranga (hospitality in the Wolof language) has some 200 megawatts of reserve, more than the consumption of Mali, twice that of Mauritania, further estimated. Abdoulaye Dia who was talking to the press on Saturday on the sidelines of a training workshop organized by APIX for the collective of economic journalists (COJES) in the department of Mbour, a city in western Senegal, located on the Petite-Côte, about 80 km south of Dakar.
With these results, Senegal does not intend to stop there. The Sénélec, which was still burdened with debt a few years ago, has never again sought to improve the supply of electricity throughout the country. The company has raised 2,000 billion CFA francs to better accomplish this mission. For this year alone, Sénélec will invest 254 billion CFA francs in construction projects for additional power plants, the extension of the electricity distribution network and better integration of the IT tool in the management of the sector. Better still, this financing intended for the increase in the production of electricity in this country of West Africa of 14 million inhabitants has been practically mobilized, according to the officials of the distribution company of electricity.
Thanks to Macky Solaire
However, it should be noted that before 2015, such an investment was not possible. In 2016, the company made a profit of 30 billion Fcfa, while just before 2014, it was not making a profit. The secret of this performance can be found in the energy policy initiated by President Macky Sall, who came to power in 2012. It is a vast program of energetic independence that has begun to materialize.
In 2016, Sénélec commissioned an additional 270 megawatts (MW), or more than half of its cumulative capacity in 2015, which was 510 MW. That same year, President Sall inaugurated the Bokhol solar power plant in the north of the country, 120 km from the city of Saint-Louis. With a capacity of 20 megawatts peak, the largest solar power plant in West Africa required financing of 17 billion CFA francs for its construction. And soon, the Sendou coal-fired power station, in the municipality of Bargny located in the Dakar region, will be born. It will have a capacity of 125 MW. In addition, there is the Malicounda plant in the west of the country and six other solar and wind energy projects. They will be completed by 2018.
In the footsteps of Senegal
It should be noted that these production increases lowered the price of electricity by 10% at the start of 2017. The country which recently discovered a pocket of gas estimated at 15,000 billion cubic meters and oil wells – a first in terms of quantity for gas in the country – will further assert its energetic independence in the years to come.
However, it should be noted that other countries in Africa are also making enormous efforts in this direction. Ghana, which will be an electricity exporter in four years, according to the World Bank, is a clear example.