Sunday, January 27, 2008

South Africa reeling from energy crisis

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald—“South Africa Declares Energy Emergency”

South Africa, the continent’s largest economy, has spent the last two weeks suffering from an energy shortage causing rolling blackouts throughout the country and all but crippling major industries, including the nation’s gold mines.

South Africa recently announced that it considers the problem an “electricity emergency” and plans to begin rationing energy, instituting quotas, and shifting to solar power. In the meantime, the emergency threatens not only the economy of South Africa, but also neighboring nations such as Botswana and Namibia that rely on energy exports from South Africa.

Officials have asserted that the problem finds it source in the surge in demand for energy in South Africa's growing economy. At the same time, they expect that energy prices will increase as much as 14% this year and again next year. High energy costs could be as detrimental to the South African economy as a shortage of energy.

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