Rush to Build African Infrastructure Brings Challenges and Opportunities

Rush to Build African Infrastructure Brings Challenges and Opportunities

by RP Siegel
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Is a large-scale grid infrastructure the right answer for Africa? via @Justmeans + @RPSiegel

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 8:00am



According to the IMF, ten of the twenty fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa. These include the top three: São Tomé and Principe, South Sudan, and Guinea. Considering the fact that many of these are starting with very little in the way of development, these countries represent a tremendous opportunity, not only in terms of revenue potential, but also, given something resembling a clean sheet, a chance to truly get it right, from a sustainable development perspective.

Recognizing the opportunity, the Chinese have moved aggressively, establishing economic ties and quickly becoming Africa’s largest trading partner. In 2012, China’s trade with Africa reached $198.5 billion, twice that of the US.

Now the US wants to pick up its Africa game. Just this week, the US government announced commitments from American businesses to invest $14 billion in Africa. Coca-Cola alone has pledged $5 billion. Other companies  coming to the table include Chevron, IBM, Mastercard, GE and Marriott.

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Image Credit: Acik Kembarasufi: Flickr Creative Commons

RP Siegel, author and inventor, shines a powerful light on numerous environmental and technological topics. He has been published in business and technical journals and has written three books. His third, co-authored with Roger Saillant, is Vapor Trails, an eco-thriller that is being adapted for the big screen. RP is a professional engineer – and a prolific inventor, with 50 patents, numerous awards, and several commercial products. He is president of Rain Mountain LLC and is an active environmental advocate in his hometown of Rochester, N.Y. In addition to Justmeans, he writes for Triple Pundit, ThomasNet News, and Energy Viewpoints, occasionally contributing to Mechanical Engineering, Strategy + Business, and Huffington Post. You can follow RP on Twitter, @RPSiegel.