Remarks by USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras, Standard Microgrid’s 10th Solar Microgrid Ribbon Cutting

Friday, February 7, 2020
USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras (center right) with Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa (center) and Swedish Embassador Anna Maj Hutgard,
USAID/Zambia Mission Director Sheryl Stumbras (center right) joins Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa (center) in Lusaka’s Ngwerere Township for the official launch of Standard Microgrid's 10th solar mini-grid system.
Photo: David Mpundu USAID/Zambia

Honorifics 

Honorable Mathew Nkhuwa, Minister of Energy
Her Excellency Anna Maj Hultgard, Ambassador of Sweden to Zambia
Ms. Langiwe Lungu, Executive Director, Energy Regulation Board
Mr. Clement Silavwe, Chief Executive Officer, Rural Electrification Authority
Mr. Brian Somers, Standard Microgrid Chief Executive Officer
Mr. Aaron Leopold, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Minigrid Developers Association
Senior Government Officials present
Friends in the Media
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure to be here this morning to participate in the ribbon cutting for Standard Microgrid’s 10th solar microgrid in Zambia.

Today, we are here to acknowledge and support the 69 percent of Zambians across the country who do not have access to electricity; and they are not alone.  Two out of three people in sub-Saharan Africa lack access to electricity. Electricity is the lifeblood of economic development and is essential for one’s quality of life.  

While important strides have been made to diversify power generation and expand access to power in Zambia, there is still significant work to be done to ensure electricity is available to all Zambians.  

The U.S. government believes off-grid electricity generation - and microgrids in particular - have a significant role to play if we want to bring electricity to all Zambian households.  Microgrids offer an affordable, sustainable and more immediate solution to increasing electricity access to communities such as Ngwerere, where we are today.

Through private sector partnerships, such as the one we have with Standard Microgrid, the U.S. government’s interagency Power Africa initiative is supporting efforts to bring electricity to those Zambians who currently do not have access to power.   Standard Microgrid has been a Power Africa partner since 2017, when they received their first grant to conduct a feasibility study on the proposed deployment of 150 microgrids in Zambia.

Now, two years later, it is exciting to be here to celebrate the progress that has been made and the next steps in this electrification project.  Standard Microgrid’s franchise business operating structure - the first in Africa - builds a sustainable, private-sector driven standard that brings affordable electrical power to more Zambian homes and catalyzes economic development. 

We are especially pleased to note that the Standard Microgrid partnership is a working representation of Prosper Africa, which in addition to promoting regional electrification also seeks to unlock opportunities for American companies to do business in Africa — benefiting companies, investors, and workers both in Africa and the United States.

The U.S. government believes in the transformative effect of private sector solutions to address development challenges.  We recognize that public funds alone cannot solve major development challenges. Private sector partnerships that use market-driven, sustainable solutions are key to  economic prosperity and job growth.

I am honored to represent the U.S. government today as we celebrate this important step towards meeting Zambia energy goals.  Thank you to the Government of the Republic of Zambia and Minister Nkhuwa for your commitment to expanding the nation’s power grid, and another thank you to our other Cooperating Partners here today who have supported this and other private sector led power-generation projects.

We offer a special thank you and congratulations to Standard Microgrid, for its commitment to sustainable power generation solutions for Zambia, and for showing that private-sector partnerships can and do work. 

I look forward to our continued collaboration and dialogue as we push toward the targets of  delivering one million new electricity connections, and of bringing electricity into the homes of six million Zambians. Thank you.

Ngwerere Township, Lusaka

Last updated: February 11, 2020

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