US President, Barack Obama has announced a new energy initiative, ‘Power Africa’, a $7 billion initiative to boost electricity supply to sub-Saharan Africa, the White House said in a statement June 30, 2013.
The initiative which will be implemented over the next five years will start with six African countries including Ghana, Liberia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, reports the Reuters news agency.
The initiative is designed to increase access to electricity, raise cross-border trade in energy, and promote efficient management of energy resources, said the African Development Bank (AfDB) who is a partner in the initiative.
The funds for the project is expected to be provided by key US government agencies. The US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will commit $1.5 billion while the US Export-Import Bank will make up to $5-billion available, Reuters reported June 30, 2013 citing officials related to the initiative.
Sub-Saharan Africa will need more than $300 billion to achieve universal electricity access by 2030, according to the White House.
President Obama announced the initiative in South Africa today June 30, 2013.
In March 2012, the US announced a new energy-focused bilateral partnership with Ghana. The US–Ghana energy “Statement of Principles” included an agreement to initially focus on increasing investment and reform in the electric power sector, which can facilitate broad economic development in Ghana.
Already, US firm, General Electric (GE) plans to undertake an ‘ambitious’ power plant project in Ghana. The GE in April 2013 indicated it is planning to build a 1000 megawatts (MW) power plant in the country after meeting with Ghana’s Energy Minister Mr. Emmanuel Kofi Buah.
Ghana is also close to signing the second Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) compact which officials say will focus on the energy sector. The US Ambassador to Ghana, Gene A. Cretz in March 2013 held talks on the MCC with Mr Emmanuel Armah Buah.
Ghana is currently suffering from electricity power crisis, a situation which the International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes could curtail the country’s economic growth.
By Ekow Quandzie