La búsqueda de energía por parte de África

¿Por qué sigue siendo pobre África? Guerras civiles, hambre, enfermedades, la herencia del colonialismo: se han aducido todas éstas como razones verosímiles de la absoluta pobreza y atraso económico de ese continente. Pero otro factor -probablemente relacionado de algún modo con estos otros- desempeña un papel fundamental en la asfixia del desarrollo: la falta de fuentes energéticas modernas..

El enorme potencial energético de África permanece en inmensa medida desaprovechado. Ésta es una conclusión fundamental del African Economic Outlook ("Panorama Económico Africano") correspondiente al período 2003-2004 y recientemente publicado por la OCDE. Mientras que casi la mitad de los 53 países de África podrían producir energía hidroeléctrica con beneficios, sólo se consigue realizar el 7 por ciento de ese potencial por culpa de las infraestructuras deficientes y los elevados costos de las inversiones iniciales.

Además, pese a su gran potencial en materia de energía solar y geotérmica, África representa sólo el 1,3 por ciento de las instalaciones solares mundiales y sólo cuatro países han empezado a explotar las fuentes de calor subterráneas. De las fuentes de energía fósil -principalmente el petróleo- que los países africanos sí que explotan, sólo una cuarta parte es consumida localmente.

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