Power Africa: Investors gather in Washington for African energy

Global Business

Power Africa: Investors gather in Washington for African energy

Almost five years ago President Barack Obama launched a project he called “Power Africa.” The idea was to work across government agencies to spur private sector solutions to expand availability to the 85 percent of Africans without access to electricity.

When Donald Trump declared “America First” many development experts wondered if that would also mean Africa last.

At the “Powering Africa Summit” in Washington, U.S. officials now said President Trump is fully behind a group of agencies that work to boost private sector-led overseas development.

CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.

Mark Green, who’s the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development calls it “Power Africa 2.0.”

He said it will be “expanding beyond our previous targets of increasing energy generation and access and looking to make gains in the area of distribution and transmission.”

Transmission refers to those high voltage lines that carry electricity over a distance and distribution is the point where the voltage is stepped down, so it can enter people’s homes.

At the summit, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Steel, Development & Metallurgy within the National Assembly of Nigeria wants that kind of help.

“We’re also having very great difficulties in moving the generated electricity to the consumers and there’s so much investment opportunities,” Abaribe said.

U.S. officials will try to support such demands with a mix of technical assistance, loan guarantees, and financing.

Uganda is seeking a diverse energy mix to meet the needs of its people, from a plan for a nuclear power plant to mini-grid solar projects.

With a wink, Irene Muloni, Uganda’s minister for Energy and Minerals Development made a direct appeal for cash.

“And so you have a lot of money here. Please avail it to us at a cheap rate!”

Despite Donald Trump’s support for fossil fuels, the U.S. will continue supporting renewable solutions like solar, which provide power much more easily to remote rural communities.

Overall, there remains a commitment to encouraging the use of innovative technologies, financing, and solid financial governance o expand the availability of electricity to millions of homes and business across Africa.