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  • Writer's pictureNicky, Digital Researcher, Africa Analyst

Africa's Mega Infrastructure Projects

When it comes to the development of nations, there are basic and necessary things needed to power an economy. Electricity has historically been an enabler of industrial development. Nations with access to stable and cheap electricity have left those without electricity in the wind, access to energy without a question of doubt is at the heart of development.

The population in Africa is currently 1.2 billion people, most projections are concluding that the population will double by 2050. These nations are facing tremendous pressure to provide infrastructure for their citizens of today and tomorrow.

Despite the challenges it has had to deal with, the African continent has, no doubt, been making some infrastructural advancements, even if it were at a snail's speed. Several countries are partnering with foreign investors to establish some remarkable and word class infrastructures that will benefit the citizens.

Let's take a look at some large infrastructural projects currently ongoing in Africa.

Mambilla hydroelectric power project - Nigeria

Power supply has been for several decades one of the greatest setbacks to economic growth and industrial development in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole. To tackle this challenge squarely, the Nigerian government has decided to invest heavily on the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project. The project is expected to bring a lasting solution to the problem of epileptic power supply in the country, and to meet the needs of Nigeria's growing economy and the teeming population.

The planning for the Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Plant has been in the oven for more than three decades, but has eventually being brought to reality in recent times. Work is ongoing and the power plant is expected to commence operation by the year 2030.

The project which is estimated to cost about $5.8 billion is being funded by Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Power, Construction and Housing in conjunction with some Chinese investors. The Mambilla power plant, upon completion, will be producing about 4.7 billion kWh of electricity annually, and in connection with the already existing dams in Taraba State will be generating a total installed capacity of 3,050MW of electricity.

Grand Inga Dam - Congo

Top among the lists of the largest infrastructural projects currently under construction in Africa is the Grand Inga Dam. This hydroelectric dam is proposed to be situated at the Inga Falls on the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The Grand Inga Dam is designed to be a series of seven hydroelectric power stations at the site of the Inga Falls and if things go as planned, the dam will be generating an average output of 40,000 GW making it the largest power station in the world.

The cost estimate for the construction of the dam and installation of transmission lines to distribute power across is placed at a whooping sum of $100 billion. Funding was supposed to be handled by the World Bank, but due to some disagreements over the project the World Bank has withdrawn its support.

Dangote Oil Refinery - Nigeria

The huge, world-class refinery currently under construction in Nigeria is one of the largest projects ongoing in Africa now. Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man, is putting together an oil refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in the Ibeju Lekki district of Lagos, Nigeria. The project is estimated to cost between $12 billion - $14 billion dollars.

The project is mostly self-funded by Dangote, 60% of the funds coming directly from his business conglomerate, supported by a $3.3 billion syndicated loan arranged by Standard Chartered Plc.

Most of the government-owned refineries in Nigeria are dilapidated, but with Dangote Refinery functional the country will no longer have to send out her crude but will be able to refine her crude. When fully operational, the refinery also has prospects of generating about 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs.

Dangote Oil Refinery is projected to have a capacity of processing over 650,000 barrels of crude oil into refined petroleum products per day, placing it among the biggest oil refineries round the whole world. The refinery, which is almost 70% completed, is expected to commence operations in 2022 producing quality gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and polypropylene.

The Dangote refinery and petrochemicals plant equally has a fertilizer plant with capacity of producing 3 million-tons of Urea annually, the second-largest of its kind in Western Africa.

Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway

A project considered to be the largest transport infrastructure project in Africa is currently ongoing in Kenya, East Africa. The three billion dollar Mombasa–Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, a 969-kilometre standard gauge railway is connecting several cities in Kenya. The plan is to link the Mombasa–Nairobi SGR with other standard gauge railways in East Africa. This is the most expensive infrastructure project Kenya had ever embarked on since it's independence.

About 90% of this project which has so far recorded much progress was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China, with the Kenyan government funding the remainder.

Its first phase spanning 472km from the large Indian Ocean city of Mombasa to Kenya's capital city, Nairobi has been completed at a cost of USD$3.27 billion. The second phase of the project, extending from Nairobi to Naivasha has equally been completed bringing the rail line to approximately 578.8km long.

The remaining phases covering Naivasha to Kisumu (270km) and Kisumu to Malabar (207km) are in the offing, and is estimated to cost USD$4.11 billion.

Trans-Maghreb Highway - North Africa

Considered as one of the priority projects under the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), and developed by the African Union Commission in conjunction with the NEPAD Agency, African Development Bank and partners, the four billion dollar Trans-Maghreb Highway project involves the construction of a 2,700 km line from Morocco to Egypt through Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. The highway, proposed to span the length of the Maghreb region of North Africa, consists of an Atlantic main road and a Mediterranean main road.

The Trans-Maghreb Highway is expected to span through 55 towns in the North African countries of Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya; serving 22 international airports, several main ports, rail terminals, tourist sites, industries, and several others.

The highway is targeted at providing ease of movement of persons and goods, facilitating inter-Maghrebian trade, and promoting regional economic integration.

Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam - Ethiopia

Enter the GERD, a five billion dollar dam funded by the people of Ethiopia with aspirations to power every home. Once complete the dam will be the largest hydropower dam in Africa, and eleventh largest in the world. The dam built on the Blue Nile in the highlands of Ethiopia, one of two tributaries to the Nile River, accounts for 86% of water that flows into the Nile River. It is expected to be over 500 feet high, just over a mile long, and the reservoir is expected to flood over 700 square miles. The dam is expected to produce 6,000 megawatts of electricity per year, nearly doubling the current electrical output.

For its part, Ethiopia sees the hydropower dam as a way to bring 100 million people out of poverty. The history of any developed nation proves that theory correct, the industries of those nations, healthcare facilities, and education institutions only thrived because of stable electricity. For any developing nation the key to any industrial revolution is electricity.

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