In South Africa, the energy challenge calls for investment in the sector to ensure growth and development in the agriculture space, reported CNBC Africa on Wednesday.
Elias Masilela part-time commissioner on South Africa’s National Planning Commission, said: “The reason why agriculture is not doing well is because they don’t have all [the] services they need as urban centres to make sure the productivity of agriculture compares to other sectors.”
He continued: “If we think of agriculture as the next wave of our growth, we need to invest in services that go into rural areas where agriculture takes place.”
Infrastructure and energy challenge
Masilela added that the energy challenge was not the only problem South Africa must concern itself with, adding that the energy challenge was a microcosm of a bigger picture.
He stated: “We need to be concerned about other infrastructure in the economy, what we do not want to do is […] sort out problems in the power sector [but] creating bottlenecks elsewhere.
“Power is a very important trigger to getting South Africa to stand up and do something about infrastructure but it cannot be the only thing to worry about.”
Energy challenge versus economic growth
He also disputed the correlation between current energy challenges and economic growth, CNBC Africa reported.
Masilela explained: “Historically South Africa has run surplus electricity generation and in those years there was no positive causality on productivity.
“Today we are having inadequate power but we are growing at the same rate we were growing in the past which shows that the problem in not in the power but lies elsewhere.”
He added that the one factor important to the energy sector was that it has to contribute to economic growth and development.
South Africa Vision 2030
The National Planning Commission, comprising of 24 part-time external commissioners, was established in 2010 to develop a long- term vision and strategic plan for South Africa.
The priority of the commission is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of the National Development Plan towards realising Vision 2030.
Vision 2030 includes the objective of addressing the energy challenge in terms of the infrastructure gap and increasing renewable energy in the generation mix.
Masilela said that the energy sector should also address inequality in the economy: “We should ensure that electricity is not only delivered to the rich and only urban centres but also to the rural areas.”
He concluded that the energy mix should be in line with sustainability issues adding that currently renewable energy was expensive.