Security forces broke up demonstrations by hundreds of people after weeks of electricity cuts in Niger, with several protesters wounded and arrested Monday, radio reports and police said.
Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who took to the streets of the central town of Tanout after a first day of protests on Sunday, private Anfani radio said.
Several people were hurt and about 20 were detained over both days, it said.
Demonstrators vandalised the premises of electricity provider Nigelec as well as the home of its main representative, a policeman told AFP by telephone.
It’s a continent-wide problem:
The World Bank estimates that a staggering 93 per cent of Africa’s economically viable hydropower potential, which makes up a tenth of the world’s total, remains unexploited. Electric power represents 40-80 per cent of the continent’s infrastructure deficiencies. It is an almost-worn out narrative: Unreliable power is ubiquitous in Africa, hurting manufacturing, slowing down economic progress, and compromising social life, particularly in the urban areas.
It is estimated that the combined power generation capacity of all of sub-Saharan Africa is 68 Gigawatts (GW) — no more than that of Spain, with South Africa alone accounting for 40GW of this figure. Moreover, nearly a quarter of the installed capacity is not operational for various reasons, including ageing plants and lack of maintenance.
Niger, in other words, is not alone. And I would imagine the anger Nigeriens are feeling is shared by others in sub-Saharan Africa.