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Ambassadors briefed on President Obama's Power Africa initiative

Ambassadors briefed on President Obama's Power Africa initiative
Published date:
Friday, 08 November 2013

Ethiopia's Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador Girma Birru, has chaired a meeting of the African Ambassadors AGOA Group, to discuss President Obama's Power Africa, his initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ambassador Girma, the Co-Chair of the AGOA Group, underlined the importance of the initiative considering more than two-thirds of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is currently without electricity, and more than 85 % of those living in rural areas lack access to power.

He noted that the US has now pledged to commit more than US$7 billion in financial support over the next five years to this effort, and that an allotment of more thanUS$9 billion in initial commitments from the private sector to help power the Initiative will also have a positive impact on African investment portfolios.

He said African countries should utilize the prevailing present climate as an opportune moment to further their already strengthened engagement with the US in terms of infrastructure and investment.

Ambassador Girma pointed out that, a US-Africa Energy meeting is scheduled to take place next year.

Ambassador Somduth Sobrun of Mauritius, Co-chairman with Ambassador Girma, of the AGOA-eligible countries Ambassadors' group said this made the briefing essential and timely.

Officials from USAID, the US Department of Energy, the State Department and staffers from the US Congress also participated.

Power Africa will build on Africa's enormous power potential, including new discoveries of oil and gas reserves, and the potential to develop clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy.

According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa will require more than US$300 billion in investment to achieve universal electricity access by 2030.

Under the President's Initiative, the United States and its partners will work with an initial set of partner countries, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania, all of which have set ambitious goals in electric power generation and are making the utility and energy sector reforms the basis for investment and growth.

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