August 14, 2008

Kenyan Premier Says Country “in Middle of Worsening Energy Crisis”

Text of report by John Oyuke entitled "Raila: Energy shortfall has grown into a national crisis" published by Kenyan privately- owned newspaper Daily Nation website on 14 August

The government admitted for the first time that Kenya is in the middle of a worsening energy crisis.

Speaking in Nairobi on Wednesday [13 August], Prime Minister Raila Odinga also asked the private sector to join the search for alternative power solutions to ensure the crisis does not endanger implementation of Vision 2030, the government's national development plan.

"Energy is in fact our greatest bottlenecks, with grossly inadequate supply for the current demand, leave alone for the business growth we pan," he said in Nairobi.

He said despite energy shortfalls and oil shock of the 1970s, the country has not given energy the attention it deserves.

Raila was speaking at the Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) quarterly luncheon.

Oil contributes the highest proportion of the country's primary energy demand, estimated at up to three quarters. He said how the country tackles the energy challenge would determine whether the economy flourishes or flounders.

He said Kenyans need to think beyond the traditional sources of electrical power and challenged energy industry stakeholders to even consider introduction of nuclear energy. Raila said the pressing issues on electricity in Kenya are sufficiency that is, quantity and quality of power supply and its cost.

"At about 1300 MW supply, this cannot industrialize the country nor drive the country to realizing Vision 2030 fast enough," he said.

Raila told PIEA that it must take the lead in initiating a dialogue on every dimension of the search for solutions.

Currently, he noted, the private sector accounts for only 12 per cent of the power supply.

Originally published by Daily Nation website, Nairobi, in English 14 Aug 08.

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