Nuclear Power and Governance Frameworks: Egypt, Ghana and South Africa
This report examines three African countries that are at different stages in using nuclear energy to achieve developmental outcomes. The year 2020 marked the 50th anniversary of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons’ entering into force. This treaty asserted the right of all states to the peaceful use of nuclear technology. This is important for African states, which are trying to make progress in terms of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and priority areas of the AU’s Agenda 2063. Many of these states also have the resources needed for nuclear energy, such as uranium, plutonium, thorium and zirconium. Egypt, Ghana and South Africa have been selected as case studies for this report, as they represent three African countries at different points in their journey towards the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Egypt has been expected to develop a nuclear weapons programme because of its historical role as a leader in the pan-Arab movement, and the fact that it is the most populous country in the Arab world. However, the country instead opted for non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy. Ghana aspires to do the same, although its nuclear ambitions are still at a nascent stage. Electricity supply in the country has been outstripped by demand, leading to numerous energy crises. The government of Ghana has renewed its commitment to implement a nuclear power programme and to use nuclear power to drive economic development. South Africa has the most advanced nuclear programme in Africa, and the continent’s only nuclear power plant. Post-apartheid South Africa was regarded as the poster child for nuclear disarmament, nuclear non-proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy after voluntarily dismantling its nuclear weapons programme. It joined a number of multilateral nuclear regimes and organisations and signed various international agreements.