Obama Unveils $7 Billion 'Power Africa' Electricity Plan

Obama Unveils $7 Billion 'Power Africa' Electricity Plan

President Barack Obama unveiled his “Power Africa” program on Sunday that will spent $7 billion in U.S. taxpayer money to fund a sub-Saharan Africa electricity program that will also develop geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar power.

The International Energy Agency says achieving universal electricity access to sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 would require $300 billion.

Obama said his plan is meant to bring “light where there is currently darkness.”   

The Obama White House released a statement saying that the president’s Africa plan “will commit more than $7 billion in financial support over the next five years,” including:

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide $285 million in technical assistance, grants and risk mitigation to advance private sector energy transactions and help governments adopt and implement the policy, regulatory, and other reforms necessary to attract private sector investment in the energy and power sectors. 

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will commit up to $1.5 billion in financing and insurance to energy projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

The U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) will make available up to $5 billion in support of U.S. exports for the development of power projects across sub-Saharan Africa. 

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) will invest up to $1 billion in African power systems through its country compacts to increase access and the reliability and sustainability of electricity supply through investments in energy infrastructure, policy and regulatory reforms and institutional capacity building.

OPIC and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) will provide up to $20 million in project preparation, feasibility and technical assistance grants to develop renewable energy projects.  These efforts will be coordinated through the U.S. – Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (US-ACEF) and supported by the recently launched U.S. – Africa Clean Energy Development and Finance Center (CEDFC) in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) will launch a $2 million Off-Grid Energy Challenge to provide grants of up to $100,000 to African-owned and operated enterprises to develop or expand the use of proven technologies for off-grid electricity benefitting rural and marginal populations. 

In 2014, OPIC and USAID will jointly host an African energy and infrastructure investment conference.  The conference will bring investors, developers, and companies together with U.S. and African government officials to demonstrate the opportunities for investment and the tools and resources available from the U.S. government and other partners to support investment.

Power Africa will also receive $9 billion from General Electric and other private companies.


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