Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin (www.beg.utexas.edu).
BEG Seminar, April 28, 2006
Capacity Building in the Ghana Energy Sector:
Since mid-1990s, Ghana in West Africa has launched a long-term development plan aiming at transforming its low-income country status into an upper middle-income one by 2020. With an expanding economy and a growing population, Ghana faces major challenges in providing the required energy to fuel the economy in a reliable and sustainable manner. Ghana like most poor developing countries is bedevilled with very low level of electrification; high power distribution system losses, managerial weakness and low level of qualified manpower; unsustainable pricing of energy services resulting in poor financial positions of the energy providers, but also high cost of tariff, which do not encourage maximum use of energy for wealth creation. Furthermore, there is over reliance on wood fuels, which could threaten the country's forest cover whilst consumption of modern energy forms of energy like electricity is very low. Ghana has limited energy resources and being a non-oil producing country, its oil import bill is draining almost all its hard currency earnings. Thermal power generation is oil based. With the increasing cost of oil, Ghana intends to replace oil with natural gas which is expected to arrive in the country through the West African Gas Pipeline project. Ghana will thus for the first time be using natural gas in its economy by early 2007.
The Center For Energy Economics (CEE) of the Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG) UT Austin, with USAID support is providing both short term and long term training assistance to the local energy regulatory institutions to enable them meet the challenges ahead. So far about eight (8) professional staff members have received short term training since 2004. BEG's long term training assistance component has made it possible for the author to be in BEG to help in carbon dioxide economic modelling whilst he himself is being trained in natural gas market issues to enable him meet the challenges envisaged with the use of natural gas for the first time. CEE has also helped set up a resource center in Ghana where local professionals are being trained to offer short-term services to the economy and public education services are provided.
The author will walk the audience through the Ghana energy sector and provide a brief of the activities of CEE in Ghana. A key objective is to let staff of BEG get to know some of its outreach activities in Africa.