Power Africa is a U.S. Government-led partnership coordinated by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Launched in June 2013, Power Africa brings together the technical capacities, capabilities, resources, and programs of 12 U.S. Government Departments and Agencies and 16 international development partners to provide market-driven solutions to advance the goals of the Electrify Africa Act of 2015, to catalyze small businesses, the power industry, and bring electricity to millions of people for the first time.
Power Africa is one of the largest public-private partnerships in development history with more than $54 billion of commitments from its more than 150 public- and private-sector partners. It is laying the foundation for sustainable economic growth in Africa, while also providing expanded economic opportunities for American taxpayers, workers, and businesses.
To date, Power Africa and its partners have helped 84 power projects comprising of more than 7,300 megawatts (MW) to reach financial close with a total investment of more than $14 billion. Nearly three-quarters of the 84 projects use renewables, 60% of the MW achieved are from natural gas, and over 2,000 MW are already operational.
Power Africa has helped add 10.6 million connections to off-grid, micro-grid, and central grid solutions, which has enabled tens of millions of people to gain access to electricity for the very first time. For additional information, please visit the Power Africa at http://www.usaid.gov/powerafrica.
Highlights from Power Africa's U.S. Government Partners
USAID provides a wide range of technical assistance in support of utilities, host-government institutions, the private sector, and other power sector entities. This assistance focuses on expanding market opportunities by strengthening institutional and technical capacity and advancing critical power sector reforms.
The Development Credit Authority (DCA) provides partial credit guarantee of commercial debt. There are 10 active DCA guarantees under Power Africa, supporting up to $530 million worth of lending to the power sector in Africa.
Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development (SOGE), a robust public-private partnership between USAID, the UK Department for International Development, Shell Foundation, and the African Development Bank, is spurring off-grid energy solutions to low-income consumers across the African continent. In year one, SOGE has helped its grant awardees achieve 120,000 connections, and is on track to achieve a projected 4.8 million connections.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has committed $2.4 billion in financing and insurance to support 12 utility-scale power plants, eight off-grid and small-scale renewable projects, and four micro-finance and investment facilities. These OPIC commitments are expected to create 1,660 MW of new generation capacity.
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) has pledged $5 billion in support of U.S. exports for the development of power projects across sub-Saharan Africa. The bank supported two additional Power Africa transactions in the last year, which brings the total to nine projects and $131.6 million authorized for power sector transaction in sub-Saharan Africa.
The U.S Department of Commerce is dedicated to promoting trade and investment around the world. As part of Power Africa, the Department of Commerce is focused on driving investment into power generation projects in Africa by providing technical assistance to African governments through the Office of the General Counsel's Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP).
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) has increased its energy portfolio in sub-Saharan Africa by over 1400 percent since the launch of Power Africa, upporting 74 Power Africa projects and activities that have the potential to support 2,760 MW of new generation capacity and leverage over $9.6 billion in financing from public and private sources.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is implementing power sector compacts valued at approximately $1.5 billion in Malawi, Liberia, Ghana, and Benin, along with a threshold program partly focused on power in Sierra Leone. In addition, MCC is developing power sector focused compacts in Senegal and Burkina Faso.
The U.S. Department of State, through its embassies overseas and Washington-based offices, engages African governments through diplomacy and technical assistance to advance technical, oversight, and policy reforms that stimulate private investment in the power sector and encourage good governance.
The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), along with USAID and General Electric Africa, has awarded 75 grants worth $7.5 million to African-owned and managed local entrepreneurs through the Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge, which has resulted in more than 22,000 new connections in remote areas of nine countries, leveraging over $4.5 million in private investments with the goal to create more than 49,000 new connections.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) provides technical expertise to U.S. agencies, African governments, and companies to improve the efficiency and resilience of energy systems and reduce environmental impacts by encouraging a broad range of clean energy solutions, including clean coal, natural gas, nuclear, and renewable energy. DOE provides assistance and collaborates with international partners on a broad range of topics including energy efficiency, carbon capture storage and utilization, grid optimization, mini-/micro-grids, and renewable energy. DOE, with assistance from the U.S. Energy Association and USAID, published the "LNG Handbook: Understanding Natural Gas and LNG Options." The book looks at factors to be considered when exporting or importing Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) and helps guide natural gas development. DOE is also providing, in collaboration with the U.S. Energy Association and the East Africa Geothermal Partnership, a technical internship program for geothermal scientists in Kenya.
Highlights from Power Africa's Development Partners
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has already approved $4.52 billion in grants, loans, guarantees, equity investment, and technical assistance for power sector projects across sub-Saharan Africa, exceeding its initial $3 billion Power Africa commitment. Since the launch of Power Africa, AfDB has supported catalytic power projects in more than 32 countries across sub-Saharan that are complementing the U.S. government's investments. AfDB has helped bring 10 projects to financial close since committing to Power Africa, representing 1,124 MW. It has a pipeline of an additional 6,000 MW of projects that should reach financial close by 2020.
Power Africa supports the AfDB's Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which provides grants and equity to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. SEFA's interventions are expected to leverage $1 billion in investments.
Since 2014, the AfDB's African Legal Support Facility has supported nine African governments in the negotiation of power purchase agreements for a total of 1,500 MW of independent power projects.
The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) signed an MOU with Power Africa in September 2017, committing to bring 400 MW to financial close.
Through its partnership with Power Africa, the Government of Canada committed $150 million in support of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).
The UK's Department for International Development (DFID) became a founding partner, along with Shell Foundation and USAID, in the Scaling Off-Grid Energy Grand Challenge for Development. The Grand Challenge provides support to innovative technology solutions and business models across the household solar value chain. The Grand Challenge aims to connect 20 million new households with modern, clean, and affordable electricity by 2020.
The Government of France signed a Declaration of Intent (DOI) with Power Africa that committed $2.15 billion, to be realized through its support to AREI.
The European Union's ElectriFI program was launched in April 2016, with $115 million in funding, including $10 million in support from USAID. ElectriFI is a financing facility that primarily provides financial support through risk capital to developers and investors involved in growing Africa's renewable energy sector. ElectriFI's first call for project financing applications closed in May 2016, resulting in 300 applications totaling $800 million in financing. Its second round in March 2017 received 155 applications, of which 34 companies were shortlisted for further assessment.
The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa and U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) are working together to evaluate clean energy projects for their financing pipelines. A USTDA-funded adviser is working to identify clean energy projects that are appropriate for DBSA, IDC and/or USTDA funding and will be providing ancillary advisory services. USTDA is working with the IDC to develop an Energy Storage Technology and Market Assessment roadmap for the adoption of energy storage technologies in South Africa through 2030.
Power Africa's partnership with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) focuses on expanding information sharing to increase business opportunities. This cooperation is exploring information sharing on specific project opportunities and pipelines through IRENA's Sustainable Energy Marketplace and Power Africa's transaction tracking (PATT) database.
The Government of Japan's partnership with Power Africa focuses on advancing the geothermal sector in East Africa, improving energy efficiency, leveraging investments in cleaner energy sources, and supporting cross-border energy trade and regional power pools. Japan has committed to delivering 1,200 MW by 2018. Japan was instrumental in helping bring the 140 MW geothermal project, Olkaria V, to close in 2017, its first transaction in support of Power Africa.
The New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) signed an MOU with Power Africa in 2014, which outlines collaboration in support of NEPAD's Africa Power Vision (APV) projects. Through its Africa Power Vision program, NEPAD aims to achieve an 80% residential electrification rate and a 90% industry and business electrification rate by 2040.
The Government of Norway committed to mobilizing $750 million over five years in its MOU with Power Africa. In 2016, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spent $55 million and Norfund programmed $100 million, mobilizing a total of $155 million. The Government also committed to bringing 1,500 MW online over a five-year period. To date, Norway has funded 14 projects that have reached financial close, representing 234 MW.
SEforALL helps Power Africa drive discussion and collaboration among development partners to advance electricity access. Power Africa has also collaborated with SEforALL to develop a finance-focused webinar series that has engaged a broad stakeholder community on issues ranging from foreign currency risk to project preparation. The Government of Sweden launched the "Beyond the Grid" Fund for Zambia last year. The €20 million fund seeks to develop Zambia's renewable energy sources including solar, hydro, biomass, biogas, biodiesel, ethanol, and to bring modern clean energy access to 1 million Zambians over four years. In July 2017, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) signed its first three contracts with with rural energy companies operating in Zambia, as part of the Beyond the Grid Fund.
The World Bank Group (WBG) has mobilized more than $4.1 billion towards its $5 billion Power Africa commitment. With $6 million in support from USAID, the International Finance Corporation launched the Scaling Solar program, which has already led to two competitively tendered 50 MW solar projects in Zambia, priced at some of the lowest costs for solar energy in Africa. The WBG has played an instrumental role in bringing 1,600 MW to financial close since the launch of Power Africa.