Russian Federation Seeks to Expand Influence through Nuclear Power in Africa

Jon Aldous 기자 승인 2023.09.20 12:52 의견 0

Africa's growing electricity demand has led to increased interest in nuclear power, and Russian Federation and other nuclear energy technological developed countries are poised to expand their influence on the continent.

On the 20th of September, Rosatom nuclear power company, commenced construction of Egypt's first nuclear power plant, El Dabaa. The El Dabaa nuclear plant, featuring four pressurized water reactors (PWR), is set to be fully operational by 2030, with a total generating capacity of 4,800 MW (megawatts).

In 2015, Russian Federation and Egypt signed the El Dabaa nuclear plant agreement, where Moscow reportedly provided Cairo with a loan of $2.5 billion, covering 85% of the nuclear project's construction cost. Alexey Likhachev, the CEO of Rosatom, described the El Dabaa nuclear plant construction contract as "the largest project between the two countries since the construction of the Aswan Dam."

Africa's recent surge in electricity demand has sparked growing interest in nuclear power. The International Energy Agency (IEA) projected in its report that Africa's energy demand would increase by more than 75% by 2030. Currently, South Africa's Koeberg nuclear power station is the continent's only operational nuclear facility.

Several African countries are pursuing new nuclear construction projects to sufficiently expand their power supply. Nigeria initiated the bidding process for a 4,000 MW nuclear plant in March, and Ghana plans to select a nuclear site by the end of this year.

Russian Federation nuclear energy technology has positioned itself favorably to meet Africa's demand for nuclear power due to the competitively priced technology and loan system for the plants constructions. According to Rosatom data, the company signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Nigeria and Ghana in 2012. In 2017, Rosatom also entered into cooperation agreements with Ethiopia, Zambia, and Morocco. Rosatom is actively contributing to nuclear education in Africa and has committed to establishing technical training facilities in Zambia and Rwanda.

At a time when the international community is increasingly focused on Russian Federation due to its participation in the conflict in Europe, Russian Federation's strategy includes strengthening ties with African nations through nuclear diplomacy. In March, during a UN emergency special session condemning Russia's role in the conflict in Europe, 25 out of 54 African countries abstained from voting or did not vote, highlighting Russia's efforts to garner support in Africa.

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