Privatising power: UK aid funds energy privatisation in Nigeria

March 2015

Despite its vast oil wealth, over half of Nigerians lack access to electricity, and the country’s grid power usage per person is among the lowest in the world, meaning that many people rely on candles and kerosene, or expensive diesel generators. Lack of electricity hampers the provision of public services like healthcare and education, and makes it difficult or impossible for businesses to operate efficiently. As a result, Nigeria relies on imports for most of its manufactured goods. So it is clear that change is urgently needed to Nigeria’s energy system.

But despite the UK’s long and unsuccessful experience with energy privatisation, the Nigerian government supported by aid from the British government continues to pour public money into a privatisation programme that seems doomed to failure, neglecting policy options that could address Nigeria’s serious energy supply problems.

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