Reconciling assholes for nearly a decade.

Africa is depressing

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/29/world/africa/29power.html?ex=1343361600&en=958742361646e80d&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

It is one thing to read about this shit in newspapers, another thing to be living with it.

Next on my shopping list is a big-ass diesel generator. Or two.
Permalink Bluebeard 
July 30th, 2007 4:11pm
yeah, what's up with that? in 25 years every other poor region's got its act a little more together. china, india, Latin America, Lichtenstein, etc.

can sub saharan africa get it over with and become one country? seemed to be not so bad for China, India.
Permalink heartsheep 
July 30th, 2007 4:25pm
"can sub saharan africa get it over with and become one country?"

And what's that going to help? Instead of 10 dirt poor little countries you'll now have one huge dirt poor country.
Permalink Bluebeard 
July 30th, 2007 4:34pm
dunno seemed to work for India and China when they became fully independent with 500+ million people (1948, 1949).
Permalink heartsheep 
July 30th, 2007 4:37pm
So Bluebeard, are you made enough about it to buy a small generating station and run power to your neighbors houses?  That's how we solve the problem here, anyway.  If one person sucks at it, somebody will crop up and take their place.  When electrification was first catching on a lot of farms had "light plants" which are what we now call generators.  So if the power company couldn't do it reliably, they wouldn't get the business because the farmer would just generate his own.
Permalink Send private email Clay Dowling 
July 30th, 2007 4:46pm
The article referenced above suggested that cooperation between nations to build two or three large power plants would go a long way to solving the electricity shortage.

Also, many countries are not poor for lack of natural resources. Mostly the problems are to do with government. If a joined up single large country could benefit from a more enlightened and rational federal government it could help with the overall economy and wealth generation.

I once read that Zambia is so fertile it could grow enough food to feed the whole of Africa. Right now much of the food that is grown near Lusaka is flown overnight to Europe because the local roads and infrastructure don't support a regional customer base for the produce.
Permalink Send private email bon vivant 
July 30th, 2007 4:47pm
Clay,

Well, we're on our way to self-sufficiency. All our water is rainwater, collected off the roof into storage tanks with a total of 110 000 litres of water. Purer than municipal water and can last for years if kept in darkness.

As for power, I'm slowly solar-izing our power supply, starting with a solar geyser which will halve the electricity bill. Geysers are the worst power hogs in a household.

The generators will just be for outages as the article describes. We get them in cold weather and when the power utility "load sheds".
Permalink Bluebeard 
July 30th, 2007 4:54pm
"dunno seemed to work for India and China when they became fully independent with 500+ million people (1948, 1949)."

When was China not independent???
Permalink Rick Zeng 
July 30th, 2007 5:02pm
It's not the fact that there are a lot of little countries that is the problem.  If that was the problem, Europe would be in the stone age.  The problem is that those countries fight all the time.  If they would give a shit about their own people starving to death and stopped oppressing them or attacking their neighbors, and instead decided to build something, it would be great.  I speak as a total outsider, of course, but damn, isn't it obvious that if you want to get anywhere, you need to focus on building stuff instead of tearing it down?
Permalink Aaron 
July 30th, 2007 5:09pm
well it had an opium dependency for a century there or so.

sorry, i'm trying to remember what happened between the boxer rebellion and WWII, and I'm not coming up with much. economically shackled, and in case of Manchuria after 1930-2 (?) physically also.
Permalink heartsheep 
July 30th, 2007 5:11pm
Article suggests the key is this:

"In normal times, South Africa’s muscular chain of power plants fills the gaps of its neighbors. But South Africa now could experience up to seven years of its own electricity shortages. Rolling blackouts blanketed parts of the country in January, and sporadic power failures have persisted since."

So the other countries have been lackadaisical about their own power plants because they could lean on SA. But now those good times are gone, SA has grow to need all their own capacity, and it's time for the neighbors to get their acts together, but they haven't bothered to do so.

Bluebeard makes an interesting point. If everybody becomes self-sufficient with their own backyard wind plants and the like, then when oil runs out, it will affect Africa the least. At that time, there will be massive die offs in  the US, but this will not affect Africa.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 30th, 2007 6:04pm
> For decades, the region had enough generating capacity — and few enough customers — to tolerate such waste. No more: sub-Saharan nations are adding about a thousand megawatts of generating capacity each year, World Bank experts say, but need up to twice that to keep pace with demand.

Oh, so it's not lackluster supply as much as booming demand. And commodities still fetching a good price, outside companies should be asked to BYO.power.
Permalink strawdog soubriquet 
July 30th, 2007 7:09pm
"When was China not independent???"

you dont remember when china was britains bitch?  dude, you _really_ missed out.


even now...3 generations and a citizenship away from my english forebears...I get a hardon just thinking about how they had all those millions and millions of chinese leaping about and obeying their every whim.
Permalink pondBacterium 
July 30th, 2007 10:28pm
the problem with the African countries is that they are not.

No really.

A bunch of middle aged European men sat around a table, and divided the continent ... politics and tribal concerns be damned.

One can say that the same thing happened in Europe, but many years, and many wars later, the maps got redrawn so many times that there is some sense of *uhm* order.

In Africa, you have nations and tribes that were at war with each other for generations, just lumped together into one country and told to play nice. The removal of the common enemy (colonial powers) meant that old grudges flaired up.

Isn't it amazing that pretty much the only country to have it's map redrawn in the last 100 years or so on that continent, is Ethiopia (splitting of Eritrea).
Permalink Send private email Tapiwa 
July 31st, 2007 6:18am
Easterly in The White Man's Burden mentions the interesting fact that GDP is inversely related to how straight a country's border is. Straight borders are of course the result of artificial countries.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
July 31st, 2007 8:56am
Hmm, people here are all pissy over Yucca Mountain. Let's build them a build nuke plant over there on condition we can send all our waste there.
Permalink Send private email JoC 
July 31st, 2007 10:27am

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