Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Africa

Power Africa: Annual Report 2015 *

Academic journal article Current Politics and Economics of Africa

Power Africa: Annual Report 2015 *

Article excerpt

U.S. Agency for International Development

LETTER FROM ANDREW M. HERSCOWITZ

Access to electricity means access to opportunity and the chance for people and economies to flourish. In sub-Saharan Africa, however, all too often opportunity is out of reach; millions of people simply don't have power - in all senses of the word.

Two years ago, President Obama launched Power Africa, a bold initiative to double access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa and help bring electricity to millions of homes and businesses. We set out on a new path for developing cleaner energy projects by leveraging private sector investment and building partnerships with African governments committed to make the tough reforms needed to attract that investment to their energy sectors. Power Africa is central to the Administration's new model of development - the U.S. Government and the private sector working together to strengthen the world's economies, build domestic capacity, and help put all of our societies on a more prosperous and sustainable path.

Power Africa's initial success led the President to reaffirm its mission to double access to electricity across all of sub-Saharan Africa at last year's U.S.Africa Leaders Summit. In addition, President Obama announced a tripling of Power Africa's goals from 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new and cleaner generation capacity to 30,000 MW, and a commitment to increase electricity access by 60 million new connections. As the first Presidential initiative headquartered on the African continent, we've tapped into the best American, African, and international talent to tackle these important goals together. While it will take years to advance some larger projects, we are laying the groundwork for continued progress and are already seeing the impact that Power Africa can and will have in the years to come.

Today, Power Africa continues to make progress, driven by more than 100 private sector partners, fueled by the vision and experience of African leaders and the needs of their citizens, and enhanced by the public sector's technical and financial resources. As a result, individuals across the continent are tapping into opportunity with every new connection, whether they are connected to the national grid or "beyond" it and using solar powered home systems. But with millions still lacking access, our progress to date is just the beginning, and we are committed to continuing to expand Power Africa's reach and impact.

Power Africa has already helped facilitate the financial close of private sector transactions that are expected to generate over 4,100 MW. We are tracking hundreds of projects, which if completed could generate an additional 20,000 MW. In our first two years, we have learned that Power Africa can be the glue and the catalyst among its diverse partners that enable these projects to sustain their momentum and help them overcome common obstacles that too often cause projects in sub-Saharan Africa to derail.

In this Annual Report, you will read about concrete progress made on projects, on critical policy reforms, as well as lessons learned. Sub-Saharan Africa experiences its share of challenges, but what defines the continent is the spirit and character of its people to overcome obstacles and reach for a better future.

Power Africa is our signal to African governments, citizens, businesses, and the world that the United States and our partners are committed to working together with our African partners to remove the obstacles that stand in the way of opportunity. Through the power of partnership, we can and will ensure a brighter future for all.

Andrew M. Herscowitz

United States Coordinator

for Power Africa

Executive Summary

In June 2013, President Barack Obama launched PowerAfrica - a partnership among the U.S. Government, African governments, the private sector, international organizations, NGOs, and bilateral and multilateral partners to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa. …

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