La politique énergétique de l'Afrique

Pourquoi l'Afrique reste-t-elle si pauvre ? Les guerres civiles, les famines, les maladies, l'héritage du colonialisme, toutes ces raisons ont été avancées comme explication de l'extrême pauvreté du continent et de son retard économique. Mais un autre facteur, sans doute relié d'une manière ou d'une autre aux éléments précédents, joue un rôle fondamental pour étouffer le développement : le manque de sources d'énergie modernes.

Les énormes réserves énergétiques de l'Afrique sont largement sous-exploitées. C'est l'une des principales conclusions de l'édition 2003-2004 des Perspectives économiques en Afrique récemment publiée par l'OCDE. Alors que presque la moitié des 53 pays africains pourraient avantageusement produire de l'énergie hydroélectrique, seulement 7% de ce potentiel est exploité à cause du manque d'infrastructures et du coût élevé de l'investissement initial.

Malgré un potentiel important de ressources énergétiques d'origine géothermique et solaire, seules 1,3% des installations de production d'énergie solaire se trouvent en Afrique et seuls quatre pays ont commencé à exploiter les sources thermiques souterraines. En ce qui concerne les sources d'énergie fossile, essentiellement le pétrole exploité par les pays africains, seulement le quart du pétrole extrait du sous-sol de l'Afrique lui est destiné.

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