About Power Africa

600 million people, 70% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa is without electricity.

On June 30, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa, President Barack Obama announced Power Africa — an initiative to increase the number of people with access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.

Rooted in partnerships, Power Africa is working with African governments, the private sector, and other partners in sub-Saharan Africa to add more than 30,000 megawatts (MW) of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity as well as increase electricity access by adding 60 million new home and business connections.

A Toolbox Approach

Power Africa is focused on removing the barriers that have long impeded or stalled energy project development across the continent and limited the number of people who have access to electricity.

To do this, Power Africa brings together the combined expertise and resources of numerous U.S. Government agencies, the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank, the Government of Sweden, and our host government and private sector partners. By offering this wide set of tools to partners, Power Africa’s “Toolbox” approach is helping to unlock the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, biomass, geothermal resources, and natural gas in the region to enhance energy security, decrease poverty, and advance economic growth.

Power Africa also works closely with African governments to remove constraints to investment and to promote and improve governance of a growing power sector throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Power Africa strives to increase regional, cross-border energy trading, while also working with partner countries and regions of Africa to meet critical energy needs and achieve energy security.

Power Africa includes the Beyond the Grid sub-initiative, which is focused on expanding rural electrification, and access to small scale and off-grid technology.

A New Operating Model: Mobilizing Partnerships & Investments in Energy

The level of funding needed to electrify the continent far outstrips the capacity of African governments and foreign donors alone.

In response, Power Africa has developed an innovative model based on partnerships with private investors and policy support to governments to focus and enable key projects. By leveraging U.S. strengths in energy technology, private sector engagement, and policy and regulatory reform, Power Africa also galvanizes collaboration, to make quick-impact interventions and drive systemic policy reforms to facilitate future investment

The U.S. Government has committed more than $7 billion in financial support and loan guarantees. To date, Power Africa has leveraged more than $20 billion from the private sector for new on and off-grid projects in sub-Saharan Africa, meaning that every dollar the U.S. Government has committed to Power Africa has already leveraged almost three dollars in private sector investment commitments

Power Africa is also working closely with development finance partners and other donors to enhance the availability of energy sector resources in Africa. To date, the African Development Bank, World Bank and the Swedish Government have collectively committed an additional $9 billion in support of Power Africa.

Beyond the Grid

Power Africa is helping to advance mini-grid and off-grid solutions to increase access to underserved areas through “Beyond the Grid.” This sub-initiative utilizes Power Africa’s innovative transaction-focused model to galvanize collaboration, engage in critical actions to accelerate transactions, and drive systemic reforms in order to facilitate future investment for off-grid and small-scale renewable energy solutions.

Power Africa already supports over 25 small-scale energy projects, but Beyond the Grid is working to expand this significantly with over $1 billion in new private sector commitments from private sector partners. With over 40 partners, Beyond the Grid also seeks to unlock investment and growth for off-grid and small-scale energy solutions for millions of households, businesses and public facilities in underserved areas in Africa.

Visit the Beyond the Grid page

The Results

Since Power Africa’s launch in late June 2013, the initiative has helped financially close more than 3,000 MW worth of transactions, representing more than 30% of the initial 10,000 MW goal for new power generation. Power Africa is currently considering projects expected to generate an additional 15,000 MW. The long-term objective is to double access to cleaner, reliable and efficient electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Power Africa Delivering Results: 1st Year 2013-2014:

  • Transactions adding 3,136 MW have “financially closed” (~28% of the initial 10,000 MW goal).
  • Transactions adding 5,279 MW are in the planning stages (~53% of the initial 10,000 MW goal).
  • Almost 40 private sector partners are committing to $20B+ worth of power project development
  • Nearly 3:1 leveraging of funds — $7 billion USG investment to more than $20 billion private sector financing

Interagency Coordination

Power Africa involves 12 U.S. government agencies, whose combined capabilities form the backbone of Power Africa. USAID plays a central role in coordinating these efforts. Andrew M. Herscowitz leads the effort as the Coordinator for the Power Africa and Trade Africa initiatives.

Contact

For general Power Africa questions or to partner with Power Africa, click here.

Last updated: January 15, 2015

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Beyond the Grid

Focused on rural electrification, small scale and off-grid technology programs, this sub-initiative of Power Africa, currently leverages over $1 billion in commitments from 40 founding private sector partners over five years. Read More about Beyond the Grid.

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Featured Video

Electricity 101: explains the key pillars of the power sector in sub-Saharan Africa and shows the basics and challenges of the electricity sector in developing countries.