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Power To Africa for Global Development

by Thandisizwe Mgudlwa
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elecInternational development experts strongly emphazize that Africa’s growth means global growth.

And the world’s biggest economy, the US, is wisely tapping in to this potential, they add.
Furthermore, they find that the African continent desparately needs power.

According to expert’s research, Africa is home to almost 17% of the world’s population yet it produces only 4% of the world’s generated power.

“Over 66% of Sub-Saharan Africans do not have electricity despite living in a region where the economy is growing rapidly. The continent plays host to six of the 10 fastest-growing countries in the world.
It is also found that Africa’s Growth Domestic Product (GDP) can grow by 10% if power generation increases by 16%.
“There are even predictions that the average African economy will eventually outpace China. It is therefore essential that the electric infrastructures in African countries support this growth.

Also revealed is that the US has recognized this growth potential and has already shown interest by investing millions. A joint US government and private sector initiative will see a total investment of US$16-b (this
includes contributions of US$7-b from the state and US$9-b from the
private sector for clean energy projects).
And this recent commitment will bring power to 20 million households in six sub-Saharan African countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia. The funds, which will be paid out over a 5 year period, will go a long way in assisting these African countries that have been struggling to raise enough finance to develop power generation
projects.
Although Africa has abundant clean energy resources, there is often a lack of support to cover project development costs. It is for this reason that the US State Department OPIC and the US Trade and Development Agency developed the U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative (US-ACEF).

The initiative, which has already contributed US$20-m to help African
countries complete power projects, assists with:
* Project preparation assistance
* Feasibility studies
* Pilot projects
* Technical assistance
* Study tours
* Reverse trade missions

The US Agency for International Development (USAid) will also be providing US$285-m in technical assistance, grants and risk mitigation to advance private sector energy transactions and help governments adopt and implement policies, regulations and reforms required to attract private sector investment in the energy and power sectors.

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