No business endeavor can succeed without reliable and inexpensive delivery of electric power. Indeed, lack of energy has long been a damper on economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet today, some 620 million people living in Africa have no access to electricity.
That is why four years ago, the United States launched the Power Africa initiative. Power Africa is a partnership made up of 12 U.S. Government Departments and Agencies, African governments, and a diverse coalition of more than 150 public- and private-sector partners, including bilateral and multilateral partners, international organizations, civil-society organizations, and more than 130 private sector companies.
“Power Africa’s approach recognizes that the public sector alone cannot solve the immense challenge of expanding electricity access in Africa,” wrote United States Coordinator for Power Africa Andrew Herscowitz at the release of the 2017 Power Africa Report. “Rather, it is essential that we strategically use limited public funding to leverage large amounts of private capital and create enabling environments that will encourage continued investment for decades to come.”
Power Africa’s goal is to double access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa by increasing installed generation capacity by 30,000 megawatts and adding 60 million new household and business connections by 2030.
Today, Power Africa is among the world's largest public-private partnerships in development history. It brings together more than 150 public and private sector partners. Together, they have committed over 54 billion dollars toward achieving the initiative’s goals.
As a result, in the four years of its existence, Power Africa has facilitated power sector transactions that will generate more than 7,200 megawatts of power and have supported 10 million electrical connections, bringing electricity for the first time ever, to over 50 million people.
“Power Africa has great potential to transform the continent, while also creating new and expanded opportunities for U.S. companies,” writes USAID Administrator Mark Green.
“The purpose for foreign assistance should be ending its need to exist. The progress that Power Africa is making shows that this is possible. Its efforts and American leadership have resulted in significant international momentum towards tackling Africa’s energy crisis.”