A piece of news I read in Wired grabbed my attention: Google plans to acquire Vestas’ 12.5% share in what will be Africa’s largest wind farm – Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP), in Kenya. Energy is a key input for Google’s business – they need to ensure reliable provision. This investment may be a sign of Google’s plans for Africa.
In last week’s post, I talked about the rising trend in connectivity that African countries are experiencing. The internet economy is expected to account for 7% of Africa’s GDP by 2025. How will this come about? The necessary conditions are investments in power and in manpower:
- Power: Kenya has the potential to develop the power infrastructure the country needs to boost socioeconomic development. The Lake Turkana Wind Power project is the largest : Kenyan Shilling (KES) 70 billion (roughly €624,000 million or US$685,000 million). It will provide 300 MW of clean power to Kenya’s national electricity grid, accounting for 17% of Kenya’s total installed power. It’s expected to be operational next year.
- Manpower: Kenya has a growing information technology and communication industry. The latest statistics I have found indicate that in 2013 about 92,700 people were officially employed in the information technology and communication industry in 2013. This is 4% of official employment, and is up from 77,900 official jobs in the industry in 2010. Nairobi has become a technology hub. Some call it “the Silicon Savannah”. Kenya aims to become an alternative to India for offshoring processes. And IBM has opened its worldwide research facility for big data there.
Add to this youth and demographic growth, and my favorite question is served: any doubts about where the future lies?