News / Africa

General Electric to Invest $1 Billion in Nigeria

FILE - Due to Nigeria's decrepit national power grid, a man refuels a small generator in central Lagos, Nigeria, August 2010.FILE - Due to Nigeria's decrepit national power grid, a man refuels a small generator in central Lagos, Nigeria, August 2010.
FILE - Due to Nigeria's decrepit national power grid, a man refuels a small generator in central Lagos, Nigeria, August 2010.
FILE - Due to Nigeria's decrepit national power grid, a man refuels a small generator in central Lagos, Nigeria, August 2010.
Heather Murdock
American energy giant General Electric says it will invest $1 billion in Nigeria, promising to more than triple the country’s electrical output over the next 10 years. This comes as Nigeria seeks to reform its dilapidated and corrupt power sector.
Nigeria is a country that runs on generators. Most people don’t have access to electricity and those that do have it sporadically. On CNN last week, President Goodluck Jonathan said by the end of the year, the country’s daily electrical problems will be more or less solved.  
Clement Nwankwo, the executive director of the Policy and Legal Advocacy Center in Abuja, said that maybe the president just doesn’t realize how bad Nigeria's electrical system is.
“It’s possible the sound of his generator is far away from his house and office, so he doesn’t know when the switch is made between generators and public power supply, but there is very poor power supply to the generality of homes in Nigeria,” Nwankwo said.

Battling corruption

Nigeria’s power sector is notoriously corrupt, he said, adding that every Nigerian leader claims to be able to stop the blackouts in a single year, and nothing changes.
However, Nigeria’s Minister of Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga said this time will be different.  
General Electric’s investment includes partnering with private Nigerian companies and taking over one of Nigeria’s major power plants, building turbines, a new factory and exploring Nigeria’s abundant natural oil and gas supplies.
Aganga said the plan will work because it not just about generating megawatts, it's about boosting the national economy and encouraging investment.

“This is the beginning of much more to come. That is a clear message to the country, a clear message to Nigerians and a clear message to the international investor community. It’s not just about power. It’s more than that. It’s about manufacturing,” said Aganga.

Crucial investment

GE says $250 million will be invested immediately and the rest of the money will be spent on upkeep, training and salaries. In a speech Thursday in the capital, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt said the projects will create more than 2,000 jobs in Nigeria and nearly all of them will go to Nigerians.
“The time is now. The place is Nigeria. The how is the local team. Now the focus on everything is the execution,” said Immelt.

In the Nigerian development world, the “execution” of projects is usually where things can get stalled by corruption or violence.  
Last year, legislators produced a report that detailed how public funds got stolen by oil officials and fuel companies. The money was intended to subsidize the cost of fuel for average Nigerians, but instead, $6.7 billion disappeared. Much of it went to companies that did not work in the fuel sector at all.
In the Niger Delta, where the oil is and where GE’s new plant will be, oil companies say they lose as much as a billion dollars in revenue a month to oil theft and sabotage.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Pedus from: Australia
February 01, 2013 1:52 AM
We all know that Nigeria has the necessary human and material resources to survive, but at the same time, the leadership of the country at all levels have embraced corruption to a degree that it could potentially cripple the development of the nation. What GE plans to do in Nigeria is a welcome development, but real progress will be made when past and present leaders are made to return the national loot, which runs into billions of dollars.

One billion dollars is a huge amount by all account, but we have Nigerian leaders (past and present) who have this amount in their scattered bank accounts, and the question any sensible person would ask is: how can one man or woman be this rich and can he or she account for the source? People gamble into politics in spite of the associated risks (in Nigeria) because they, for the most part, want to share in the national cake and not because they have the best interest of the country at heart. My prayer is that God will provide Nigeria "leaders" not "rulers" and make the inhabitants of that land "victors" not "victims".
In Response

by: Michael
February 04, 2013 7:22 AM
Corruption is the major problem confronting that nation called Nigeria.Unless that is eradicated,the noble objective of Electricity company can never be actualized.Those notorious and untouchable corrupt gurus will never allow it to see the light of the day if they are not settled.It is an aberration not to give or accept bribe in that country.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs