U.S. President Barack Obama launched “Power Africa,” a new $7 billion initiative aimed at doubling access to electric power in Sub Saharan Africa. He made the announcement against the backdrop of his “Africa rising” mantra which has formed the basis for most of his speeches in his three country Africa tour. ”My own nation will benefit enormously if you reach your full potential,” he said. It is anticipated that Obama’s $7 billion pledge will help combat the frequent power blackouts prevalent in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Funds from the initiative will be distributed over the next five years. SEE MORE AFTER CUT>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
The White House in a statement released to launch the initiative said:“More than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is without electricity, and more than 85% of those living in rural areas lack access. Sub-Saharan Africa will need more than $300 billion to achieve universal electricity access by 2030.”
According to the White House, Power Africa will build on Africa’s enormous power potential, including new discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy and will help countries develop newly-discovered resources responsibly, build out power generation and transmission, and expand the reach of mini-grid and off-grid solutions.
With an initial set of six partner countries in its first phase, the initiative aims to add more than 10,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and aims to increase electricity access by at least 20 million new households and commercial entities with on-grid, mini-grid, and off-grid solutions. It also aims to enhance energy resource management capabilities, allowing partner countries to meet their critical energy needs and achieve greater energy security.
Power Africa will also leverage private sector investments, beginning with more than $9 billion in initial commitments from private sector partners to support the development of more than 8,000 megawatts of new electricity generation in sub-Saharan Africa. Examples of commitments to-date include:
- General Electric commits to help bring online 5,000 megawatts of new, affordable energy through provision of its technologies, expertise and capital in Tanzania and Ghana.
- Heirs Holdings commits to $2.5 billion of investment and financing in energy, generating an additional 2,000 megawatts of electricity capacity over next five years.
- Symbion Power aims to catalyze $1.8 billion in investment to support 1,500 megawatts of new energy projects in Power Africa countries over the next five years.
- Aldwych International commits to developing 400 MW of clean, wind power in Kenya and Tanzania – which will represent the first large-scale wind projects in each of these countries, and an associated investment of $1.1 billion.
- Harith General Partners commits to $70 million in investment for clean, wind energy in Kenya and $500 million across the African power sector via a new fund.
- Husk Power Systems will seek to complete installation of 200 decentralized biomass-based mini power plants in Tanzania – providing affordable lighting for 60,000 households.
- The African Finance Corporation intends to invest $250 million in the power sectors of Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, catalyzing $1 billion in investment in sub-Saharan Africa energy projects.