Monday, December 7, 2015

US and UK government led initiatives join hands to light up Africa

Eric Postel (left) and Nick Hurd after signing the MoU
By Isaiah Esipisu

PARIS, France (PAMACC News) – Two government led initiatives from the United States of America and the United Kingdom have joined hands to provide millions of people across Africa with clean energy generated from wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas and geothermal resources so as to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted, and reduce the number of trees cut down every day in search of fuelwood and charcoal.

The new partnership between the UK’s Energy Africa campaign under the Department For International Development (DFID) and the US’s Power Africa initiative will leverage much-needed private investment, develop networks to share power across borders and harness geothermal resources to boost access to electricity across the continent.

While signing the memorandum of understanding at the Africa Pavilion on the sidelines of the ongoing climate negotiations in Paris, the UK International Development Minister Nick Hurd said that it is not right that 600 million Africans still live without power at home. “This is not just holding back individuals; it is holding back an entire continent,” he said.

Through this partnership, the two organisations will work together to boost investment in clean energy through joint projects, expand off-grid energy, and developing networks to share power across borders.

The partnership will also help more women participate in the energy sector in Africa, it will develop regional geothermal energy and as well strengthen donor coordination across the energy sector in Africa.

“No one can tackle Africa’s energy challenge alone. We will only make progress if we work together,” said Hurd.

Signing the MoU on behalf of Power Africa initiative, the USAID Associate Administrator Eric Postel said that the US Government is happy to work closely with DFID on the Energy Africa campaign, to accelerate the household solar market.

“In partnership with DFID, donor nations, African governments, the private sector, and civil society, we can help accelerate Africa’s energy path toward economic and environmental sustainability and ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all," he said.

The new deal will harness the skills, expertise and investment power of the private sector to help improve energy access, boost economic growth and reduce poverty.

The Energy Africa campaign aims to accelerate universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa by boosting the household solar market.

According to a statement released by the two partners, the initiative will do this by removing policy and regulatory barriers to market expansion, and better co-ordinating donor support to the sector as a whole.

So far, Ghana, Malawi, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Somalia have already signed up to the campaign, with eight more countries expected to come on board.
Power Africa is a US-led initiative which aims to add at least 30,000 megawatts of new, cleaner electrical power capacity and 60 million electrical connections across sub-Saharan Africa by unlocking their substantial wind, solar hydropower, natural gas and geothermal resources.


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