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Power Africa - A Public-Private Partnership that Works

Electricity pylons carry power from Cape Town's Koeberg nuclear power plant, South Africa. (File)

Nothing is more important to sub-Saharan Africa’s future than inexpensive, reliable energy delivery.

Power Africa - A Public-Private Partnership that Works
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Nothing is more important to sub-Saharan Africa’s future than inexpensive, reliable energy delivery. No endeavor can succeed without it. Indeed, said USAID Administrator Mark Green at the Fourth Annual Powering Africa Summit, “Power is also a crucial ingredient in our response to perhaps the greatest development challenge of our time: the displacement of families and communities around the world.” That’s because power and connectivity allow the displaced to stay in touch with family and friends, and to order their lives before setting off for a new home.

However, in sub-Saharan Africa, millions of displaced people are living indefinitely in camps with no power.

This is where Power Africa comes in. In January, USAID announced a new partnership between Power Africa and MasterCard, aimed at helping to connect millions of displaced Africans to electricity, digital tools and network/internet connectivity.

“Through Power Africa, we helped convene more than20 partners -- from Mastercard to Mercy Corps to Energy Peace Partners. Together, we're working to power and connect five different refugee camps -- three in Uganda and two in Kenya,” said USAID Administrator Green.

Power Africa is a truly successful partnership between the government and the private sector.

“Power Africa works,” said Administrator Green. It has helped 58 million people gain access to electricity using market forces and enterprise principles. It has turned to over 140 private sector partners and used the convening and policy-setting authorities that are the rightful role of government, to help facilitate deals totaling 14.5 billion dollars.”

That’s the private sector side. On the government side, USAID is providing technical assistance and a loan guarantees to facilitate investment. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is pursuing energy sector reforms. The State Department is working to help strengthen energy sector governance, while the Overseas Private Investment Corporation is investing in energy infrastructure across the continent.

“This should be Africa's time,” said USAID Administrator Green.“The continent of Africa boasts potential, enormous potential. Its resources, its farm and grazing land, but most importantly the awe-inspiring spirit of resilience and joy that lives within so many of its people. As President Trump said last Fall on the margins of the UN General Assembly, when it comes to Africa, ‘The outlook is bright’.”