In the United States the House of Representatives recently passed the Electrify Africa Act which should significantly increase opportunities for energy PPP deals across Africa. The Act will create a framework for a major partnership between the US and sub-Saharan African countries to increase access to reliable electricity. The Act has now been signed off by President Obama and this means that plans to bring electricity to 50 million people across the continent should now emerge. The Act is part of the US Power Africa initiative. Click here for more details. 

Their goal is 60 million new connections and 30,000 megawatts of new and cleaner power generation. 

We understand that 27 new investors have committed to invest around $1 billion over the next five years for off grid small scale electricity solutions . The US government will help the financing with a new loan guarantee scheme. 

The Power Africa Initiative which is run by USAID is currently active in Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. The website contains details of how Power Africa delivers its’ goal as follows:

  • “Transaction Focus: In sub-Saharan Africa, a power project can stall for a variety of reasons. By addressing the critical impediments that hinder progress of a particular deal, we create a ripple effect for other deals facing similar issues in the country. Our approach to reforming Africa’s energy sector is to tackle one power project at a time. 
  • On-the-Ground Support: Power Africa’s in-country advisors identify the technical, financial, and political solutions needed to facilitate faster access to power for local communities, major cities, and regional power pools. They work closely with our partners to provide and implement these solutions.  
  • Bridging the Financing Gap: The funding needed to electrify sub-Saharan Africa far surpasses the funding available from African governments and foreign donors. Our aim is to de-risk investments so that public and private investors will fund the projects that drive systemic reforms. 
  • African-led Reform: Africa’s power sector will not advance without policy reforms and improved governance. Our teams work with African governments to fill critical skills gaps and engage in diplomatic dialogues that drive reform. Our institutional and human resource network on the African continent will build and maintain the power sector for generations to come. 
  • Working Beyond the Grid: Off-grid solutions are oftentimes the quickest way to increase access to the most vulnerable and remote communities. With over 40 investors and partners committing more than $1 billion for small-scale and off-grid renewable energy solutions, this collaboration will provide millions of people access to reliable and sustainable electricity for the first time. 
  • Empowering and Powering Women: Promoting gender equality and female empowerment is a critical component of our work. We support projects, programs and policies that intentionally strive to reduce gender inequalities and promote effective engagement of both men and women in sub-Saharan Africa”

The new Act will be a great addition to their tool box.