Reliable electricity is a critical ingredient for successful economic development. The power sector of Nigeria, and the Niger Delta region in particular, face significant constraints.

Diesel Generator at Palm Fruit Processing Plant UmuagwoDiesel Generator at Palm Fruit Processing Plant in Umuagwo, NigeriaThe Niger Delta Partnership Initiative Foundation (NDPI)--in collaboration with their Niger Delta Partner, The PIND Foundation, and Development Alternatives Inc. (DAI)--is examining the power sector in the Niger Delta. Research is underway to help clarify the current market dynamics of the sector and to identify opportunities for investment that will improve the region’s ability to generate jobs and income.

NDPI recognizes that the viability of the Nigerian energy sector is directly linked to their primary goal of supporting the market-driven expansion of pro-poor economic opportunities in the region. 

Niger Delta Electricity Scoping StudyAccording to Eniola Mafe, Program Manager at NDPI, “The ultimate success of NDPI’s continued efforts to promote market-driven expansion of the cassava, palm oil and aquaculture value chains in the Niger Delta hinges on the reliable and profitable provision of electricity to commercial activity in the region. Following on an initial scoping study, our goal at this stage is to provide the right data to catalyze partnerships and demonstrate investment opportunities in the energy sector that will ultimately translate into more jobs and higher incomes.”

The Nigerian Context
Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, however, an estimated 100 million Nigerians (approximately 65 percent of the population) do not have access to electricity. Even for the 40 percent of the population who are connected to the national electric grid, power is unreliable. In comparison, South Africa has ten times the available generation capacity, despite having only one-third of the population of Nigeria. Furthermore, South Africa electricity consumption is nearly seven times greater than Nigeria.

The national electric grid of Nigeria remains unreliable. Despite market reforms, the current mix of on-grid and off-grid power sources are often expensive and intermittent. This has resulted in slow improvement of the electricity sector.

Niger Delta Development Forum - Washington, DC 2016Panelists at the Niger Delta Development Forum in Washington, DC on Oct. 28, 2015. (NDDF Photo/Evelyn Hockstein)Niger Delta Development Forum 2015
What do lenders, investors and developers and governments need to make a project bankable? What are the electric power reliability and distribution inefficiencies in the current market system? What do lenders, investors and developers and governments need to make a project bankable? How can multi-sector (government, public, private) partnerships and innovative investment models provide solutions? These questions were the central focus of the Niger Delta Development Forum (NDDF) Generating Economic Development Infrastructure Investment in the Niger Delta that took place in Washington, DC, on October 28, 2015. The forum was organized by NDPI, PIND and partners.

The aim of the Washington Forum was to facilitate discussion and commitment amongst key stakeholders in government, the private sector, civil society and donor agencies to take collaborative action to improve energy distribution and reliability to businesses and homes in the Niger Delta. Innovative investment models and finance structures to support infrastructure development will be assessed, and multi-sector partnerships and potential infrastructure investment opportunities will be promoted. Data and information was shared about the infrastructure gap in the region to evaluate where and how it impacts development.

Data, Partnerships & Investment are Key
The NDPI-DAI initiative is examining Nigeria’s power sector actors, electricity supply and demand, on- and off-grid electricity value chains and where there might be opportunities for improving energy access. The current phase has zeroed in on six Niger Delta communities where there are viable “demand building blocks”, or clusters of existing businesses where electricity demand is concentrated and growth potential is strong. They are located in the following states and Local Government Areas (LGAs) : Delta State/Sapele LGA; Akwa Ibom State/Mkpat-Enin LGA; Imo State/Ohaji-Egbema LGA; Edo State/Etsako West and Etsako Central LGAs; and Ondo State/Ilage LGA.

DAI TEAMThe DAI Research Team: (L-R) Luke Kozumbo, DAI Global PracticeSpecialist; Olukayode (Sbaba) Soremekun, Niger Delta Expert; Clare Callahan, DAI Analyst; Francis DiMora, PEA Specialist at PIND offices in Abuja, Nigeria on August 31, 2015. (Photo/PIND)The research team recently completed a field visit to ascertain the potential of the six communities and map the key stakeholders involved in the provision, transmission, distribution and consumption of energy. The next step will include a survey of businesses and households in the six clusters to better understand power usage and demand. These efforts will inform the development of viable investment scenarios for the provision of reliable, sustainable power in the Delta region.

“In partnership with NDPI and PIND, we are working to find solutions to a problem that impacts almost everyone in the Niger Delta - the ability to access reliable power,” said Zack Kaplan, DAI Development Specialist and Chief of Party. “This effort will help focus constructive dialogue amongst a range of partners. The intention is to drive investments in both on- and off-grid solutions that enable the communities of the Niger Delta to fulfill their economic potential.”