Russians state owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom, has advised that nuclear energy remains the key to bridging the skills gap that the African continent is currently facing.
Speaking to African heads of state, representatives from Russian, African, and international business and government agencies, Alexey Likhachev, CEO, Rosatom, emphasised the benefits of nuclear energy in job creation and regional economic development.
“Global inequality in technological, industrial and socio-economic development is acutely felt in Africa,” Likhachev said.
Likhachev, who was speaking as part of a roundtable discussion titled: ‘Contribution of Nuclear Technologies in the Development of Africa’, noted that the skills challenges demand immediate solutions and Rosatom believes nuclear technology can address the hurdles. “We are talking about solutions related to raising the level of education, energy security, applying nuclear solutions to medicine, agriculture and, other scientific research and development,” he pointed out. “Every $1 invested in our projects in any country, brings $2 in localisation to that country. This significantly increases the country’s GDP.”
He explained that there’s a job for every 0.5 megawatts electric (MWe) produced at a nuclear power plant. “An average-sized 1,000 MWe plant, therefore, provides direct local jobs for just over 2,000 people. Human capital development is both a condition and a consequence of nuclear power plant construction projects,” he added.
He said through joint educational programmes the state owned corporation attracts applicants from African countries to its partner universities in Russia.
Rosatom has already awarded Rwanda and Zambia with up to 50 scholarships for students to study in specialised nuclear universities in Russia, joining hundreds of other African students from countries including Algeria, Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia and South Africa.