Energy in Central Africa : with special reference to Zaire

Master Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

In this thesis, the energy sector of the Central Africa region is investigated with a special attention to Zaire. The region's political trends, economic performance, demographic and social patterns as well as their implications in the development of the energy sector are presented. For each country of the region the resource potential and the ability to produce, distribute and use these energy resources, are analyzed. The potential for the development of energy resources of the region is examined and its future energy demand forecast. The scope for energy interchange inside and outside the region is analyzed and regional integration in the energy sector discussed. The findings of this thesis are: * there is an abundance of energy resources though not evenly distributed throughout the region, * there is a heavy reliance on woodfuel, and * there are many problems constraining the development of the energy sector. The principal issues facing the energy sector are: *the shortage of woodfuel due to the non-sustainability of supply, *the low reliability of power supply and the existence of surplus capacity in some countries, *the high supply cost of petroleum products, *the limited size of the local commercial fuel market and the lack of finance to develop domestic energy resources, *the low level of management and financial autonomy for energy utilities, *the lack of energy trade because of political instability, and institutional shortcomings. Forecasts of future energy consumption in the region indicate that woodfuel will continue to be the dominant energy form, followed by oil and electricity, and that electricity will play an increasing role. Recommendations for the woodfuel subsector relates to improving the production and utilization efficiency - valid also for the other energy carriers, increasing the supply through reforestation programmes and accelerating electrification. Other recommendations to improve the development of the energy sector include: * recovering energy supply cost through adequate pricing and improved collection practices, * reducing government interference and introducing private participation in the energy sector with the subsequent benefit of the transfer of new technology and managerial competence, and * strengthening energy institutions to enable them to improve planning, implementations, operations, and ensure the integration of traditional and commercial energy structures . The possibilities of energy interchange are large for oil and electricity, and energy trade could improve energy utilization, lower supply costs, etc. Under prevailing socio-economic conditions, regional integration is thought to be the only realistic strategy leading to the economic exploitation of energy resources and the adequate supply of energy to support industrial development of the region and to meet the social needs of its people. In this connection, major efforts should be directed towards the establishment of appropriate regional energy institutions, but political stability is a prerequisite to any effective energy integration.

Includes bibliographical references.