Nigeria and U.S. giant General Electric (IW 500/5) have signed a deal aimed at sharply boosting power generation in Africa's most populous country where electricity blackouts occur daily, GE said March 26.

The five-year memorandum of understanding signed on March 23 between Nigeria's power ministry and the company seeks to promote private investment in power projects, according to GE.

Details remain to be worked out but the deal includes "the potential for GE and the government to take minority equity positions in viable projects, where GE would supply power generation technology and services.

"The government of Nigeria has publicly set a goal of $10 billion in new power infrastructure projects," a statement from GE said.

"However, the MOU does not outline investment amounts or commitments. GE will potentially invest 10 percent to 15 percent in individual projects."

Nigeria's government has laid out a plan to privatize electricity production and distribution in order to address power shortages in Africa's largest oil producer.

It aims to do so in large part through the construction of new power plants, particularly those fired by natural gas.

The country's electricity infrastructure is woeful despite its oil wealth, with businesses and wealthy residents investing in large and expensive generators to supply power.

Nigeria, with its 160 million population and substantial deposits of oil and natural gas, has long been seen as having huge potential but has been held back by deeply rooted corruption and mismanagement.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012


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