It’s All About Power (and Who Will Have It)

Electricity, or the lack thereof, has become a seriously political issue in Ghana. And why not? Ghana has seen a lot of economic growth in the past few years though the past year has been a struggle throughout emerging economies). Surely there was enough money somewhere along the way to develop the power generation systems needed, wasn’t there?

But now, a power ship has sailed into a port near Tema. A power ship? Yes, a giant sea generator has pulled into port to give Ghanaians 235 megawatts of electricity daily. For reference, this is a little less than half of what’s needed on a daily basis – that’s 500 megawatts.

The plan is to plug the power ship into the country’s grid before the end of December (hopefully closer to the middle of the month). And, this is just one measure the government is undertaking to provide additional power. Before the end of December, something like 450 megawatts daily will be generated through a variety of contracts.

After Ghanaians breathe a sigh of relief (and fill their fridges with food), the reality will set in that Ghana has signed 10-year contracts to these suppliers. That could be very scary given that other matters are being put in place to generate an excess of energy next year.

Why did this Turkish power generator pull into port? Why now?

You can bet it’s an election ploy (even if it does make life easier over the holidays). The incumbent president, John Mahama, has promised the country that he will have solved the power crises before the end of 2015. And, that election will come up sooner than you can believe.

Given the current state of the economy, the power crises, the social deficiencies (such as schools, health care, and other critical components), President Mahama will need a push if he hopes to become re-elected.

Not everyone is convinced he can (or should) continue in this role. Sydney Casely-Hayford, a financial analyst, spoke with Richard Sky on Citi FM’s “The Big Issue” this past Saturday. He revealed his preference for former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan. Despite his age, Mr. Annan could make an incredible president. Importantly, he already has the international contacts and is a world-recognised icon. That could really help to generate international investments alongside good governance.

While you think about that, you can wait anxiously for the power to come on… and stay on. And remember, 2016 is going to be all about power… in one form or another.

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