Community Renewable Energy believes that Power Africa could tap into the incredible solar potential of the sub-Saharan region, improving millions of lives
Power Africa is currently focusing on six countries: Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania.
The independent, non-governmental organization, Ghana Institute of Governance and Security (GIGS), recently told the government that they strongly back working with the Power Africa initiative. From the Citi News article:
The Executive Director of GIGS, David Agbee, told Citi News that the Power Africa project would build on Africa’s enormous power potential, including new discoveries of vast reserves of oil and gas, and the potential to develop newly-discovered resources responsibly, build out power generation and transmission, and expand the reach of mid-grid and off –grid solutions.
He added that the International Energy Agency, Sub-Saharan Africa would require more than $300 billion in investment to achieve universal electricity access by 2030 and, with greater private sector investment the promise of Power Africa would be realized.
Last week, leaders met in Dar es Salaam for a Power Africa summit. Although only 10% of Tanzanians have access to reliable power, the country has big plans. From the All Africa article: “Tanzania ambitious strategy to transform its energy landscape is projected to move the country from a power starving nation to a biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas to East African region by end of the year and beyond in the future.”
The Kenyan firm, Cummins Cogeneration Kenya Limited, partnered with the Kenyan government to open a 12-megawatt biomass-fueled plant.
You can listen to Earl Gast of the US Agency for International Development talk about the multiple benefits of the new plant (below).
President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration estimates that $900 billion of investment– mostly from the US private sector– is required to future improve Nigeria’s energy infrastructure.
“These opportunities are enormous. When President Obama launched the Power Africa Initiative last year, he recognized this fact… We are putting together a strong team in Nigeria to work and to try to focus on encouraging and promoting investment in the country,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Transformation, Robert Ichord.
The US perspective
This week, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield conducted an online chat with media organizations and activist groups. From the transcript:
The next question comes from Carolyn Madoshi from The Guardian: “African society is mostly rural communities depending on mainly agricultural activities. By improving the agriculture as well as agricultural economy, the basic African society can be elevated from poverty and hence enjoy the rest of the inputs. How can the American Government or people help put our country – Africa – in our country Africa to acquire utilities such as electricity, water supply, and transport roads via the Millennium Challenge Account?”
ASSISTANT SECRETARY THOMAS-GREENFIELD: Well, more than just the Millennium Challenge Account because the Millennium Challenge Account will go to a single country. But let me talk about Power Africa, where the President announced that we are committed to bringing electricity to 80 million people across the continent of Africa who have not had access to electricity. And we are very, very committed to working with the six countries who are now a part of Power Africa, but we’re also looking at how we address power requirements in other countries in the continent. And we think if power is available, that we will see other areas rise as well, other infrastructure. We’ll see more investments, we’ll see education improve, we’ll see healthcare improve if there’s electricity in rural areas.
So we are committed to ensuring that we assist African countries and we work with the private sector to bring electricity across the continent of Africa. MCC is just one component of that, but there are other elements that I think are equally important that will see us to success in this area.
For more about Power Africa: