Obama Promises to Power Africa
Over the next five years, sub-Saharan Africa will receive $7 billion to alleviate the frequent power blackouts that plague the continent. President Barack Obama announced the Power Africa initiative on Sunday in South Africa during his three-country visit. According to the White House, two-thirds of sub-Saharan Africa’s population is unable to access electricity, including over 85% of those living in rural areas.
“Access to electricity is fundamental to opportunity in this age. It’s the light that children study by, the energy that allows an idea to be transformed into a real business,” said the president. “It’s the lifeline for families to meet their most basic needs, and it’s the connection that’s needed to plug Africa into the grid of the global economy.”
The initiative will include $1.5 billion from the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation and $5 billion from the Export-Import Bank. It is estimated to cost over $300 billion for universal access to electricity in the countries south of the Sahara by the year 2030.
The countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique are set to be the first beneficiaries of the program.
In a statement, the White House said that “these countries have set ambitious goals in electric power generation, and are making the utility and energy sector reforms to pave the way for investment and growth.”
In the president’s speech at Cape Town University, he told students, “A light where currently there is darkness—the energy to lift people out of poverty—that’s what opportunity looks like. So this is America’s vision: a partnership with Africa for growth, and the potential for every citizen, not just a few at the top.”
CNN. Obama pledges $7 billion to upgrade power in Africa. 30 June 2013. http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/30/world/africa/south-africa-obama-pledge/index.html?hpt=hp_t2