A Turkish company, Karpowership, known for shutting off electricity in two African cities, has expressed plans to expand across the continent. While supplying electricity to countries like Ghana, Senegal, Mozambique, and Côte d’Ivoire, the recent cutoff in Freetown and Bissau, capitals of Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, raises concerns. The failure of these authorities to pay bills, totaling $40 million and $15 million, respectively, led to the power outage.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Zeynep Harezi, Karpowership’s chief commercial officer, revealed ongoing talks for expansion with countries, including Tanzania, Kenya, Gabon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Liberia. The company anticipates operating in South Africa after winning a tender to generate 1,200 megawatts, about 2% of the country’s energy supply.
Harezi emphasized the “permanent solution” offered by their ships, using natural gas for electricity generation, seen as cleaner than other fossil fuel sources. However, Nigeria, with its economic development hindered by unreliable power, raises concerns about such solutions.
In Guinea Bissau, public hospitals faced challenges during the power outage, exposing broader failures in African countries to maintain power facilities. Critics argue that the reliance on power ships reveals short-term thinking by some African governments, emphasizing the need for long-term capital investment.
Bright Simmons, research lead at Imani Centre for Policy in Ghana, deems power ships as a necessary evil due to chronic underinvestment in energy infrastructure, posing challenges for economic growth. The business model of relying on short-term planning in poor countries is criticized, with calls for investment in renewable energy sources like hydroelectricity and solar power.
As Karpowership eyes expansion in Nigeria, the debate intensifies over the suitability of power ships and the imperative for sustainable energy solutions amid economic challenges and currency devaluation.