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Archive for April 25th, 2014

Untangling Nigeria’s Power Lines

Posted by Business in Ghana on April 25, 2014

Africa’s Top Economy Produces Half the Electricity of North Dakota—for 249 Times More People

By DREW HINSHAW

LAGOS, Nigeria—The quest to turn the lights back on in Nigeria is pitting some of the country’s richest men against rusted power lines, pilfered electricity and grenade-lobbing saboteurs.

Nigeria’s government built only 12 power plants since independence from the U.K. in 1960—all of them now in disrepair. Meanwhile, its population tripled to 174 million. The result: Nigeria produces less than half as much electricity as North Dakota for 249 times more people. Blackouts strike 320 days a year, according to the World Bank.

Now, Africa’s top economy has asked its wealthiest businessmen to get the plants humming again. Last November, the Nigerian government auctioned off six power plants, including a 50-year-old tumbledown facility located near swampland.

That plant now belongs to Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian mogul whose company made its name running a local Hilton resort. In the months to come, the hotelier hopes to jolt the power plant back to life, pushing out a surge of electricity into this country where big city offices charge their laptops with car batteries and the poor eat by candlelight. Read the rest of this entry »

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