Construction Begins on $7 Billion Power Africa Project

Obama's ambitious electrification project starts with solar and wind installations

4 min read
Construction Begins on $7 Billion Power Africa Project
Nighttime Near Nairobi: Only 18 percent of Kenyan house-holds have access to electricity.
Photo: Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

This spring, construction is set to begin on the first projects coordinated through Power Africa, a multibillion-dollar Obama administration initiative that seeks to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa within five years, and in some cases accelerate reforms in the governments of the nations involved. Among the initial projects are wind farms in Kenya and Tanzania, and a solar project in Tanzania.

More than two-thirds of the 800 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity. Announced last summer, Power Africa is coordinating efforts among U.S. government agencies and private investors to try to reduce that number. The effort initially focuses on six countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The goal is to add 10 gigawatts of electricity generation capacity, which should increase electricity access by at least 20 million households. The U.S. government will provide more than US $7 billion in financial support and loan guarantees, as well as the support and expertise of 12 U.S. government agencies. Private investors have committed more than $14 billion in loans, loan guarantees, and equity investment, according to the White House.

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Greg Mably

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