New Connections for U.S. Business

“[N]othing lifts people out of poverty quicker than electricity. That’s just a fact. You give people light, you give them the ability to refrigerate food, medicine. It changes their entire quality of life. They no longer cook on animal dung and wood cooking in their homes . . . so their health improves.”

— Rex Tillerson during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearing to become the U.S. Secretary of State.

Welcome back from the holidays, happy 2017 and welcome to the new Administration! We are excited to continue Power Africa’s work of supporting companies making investments to solve the electricity deficit in sub-Saharan Africa. Our demand-driven, transaction-based approach is advancing deals and reforms and creating jobs in the U.S. and abroad.

We just passed 8 million connections. Based on a 1:5 ratio of connections per number of people in a household (using World Bank metrics for household size in sub-Saharan Africa), we can now say over 40 million people have electrical light who did not have it before Power Africa was launched.

Let’s get excited, but not overly excited. While many of those connections are solar lanterns that provide basic task lighting and some mobile phone charging, we recognize that paying for task lighting is a critical first step that gets people into the electricity financing game, and once they’re “in,” they typically go larger (upgrading, for example, to televisions and other household appliances). Within a matter of months they often become bankable paying customers who eventually can pay for larger systems and grid connections. We need more connections that provide a greater amount of power so that people can power more appliances and business equipment, but this milestone is more evidence that our model is working and is producing real results. 40 million people who now can see in their homes at night without fire is something to celebrate.

Our partners have been sharing information with us about the U.S. jobs they are creating so that we can better understand Power Africa’s impact in the U.S. The impact is tremendous! GE, for example, has developed power projects while also benefitting Americans. GE deals in Africa have led to the export of $250 million in U.S.-manufactured power equipment since Power Africa’s launch, securing 1,500 U.S. jobs according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s methodology. Power Africa’s support for small businesses includes Ohio-based Rickly Hydro, which employs 25 people to manufacture equipment for hydroelectric projects, with more than a third working to fill an order in Tanzania for a project that Power Africa supported.

The 5,767 megawatts (MW) of Power Africa-supported deals that already have reached financial close are set to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. goods and services and support employment for thousands of Americans. The more than 600 transactions in Power Africa’s current pipeline have the potential to create billions more in U.S. exports and support employment for tens of thousands of people. Power Africa’s tools are giving strong, reputable companies (like yours!) that adhere to international labor, environmental and social standards a competitive edge to succeed in the African market.

Join us at Power Africa’s Partnerships Week March 8–10 in Washington, D.C. Power Africa will host its annual Power Africa’s Partnerships Week on the fringes of the EnergyNet Powering Africa Summit. Our Annual Power Africa Partners Meeting to be held March 8 and EnergyNet’s Powering Africa Summit March 9–10. Now with more than 130 private and public sector Power Africa partners working together to electrify Africa, we have some incredible achievements to highlight and to build on going forward. Last year, over 500 investors, developers, financiers, and government officials participated in Power Africa Week.

Several African energy ministers already have confirmed their participation. With our new Administration taking shape, the Annual Partners Meeting and Powering Africa Summit provide us all with an ideal opportunity to promote investment and competitiveness in the African energy market. We also will provide “Speed Networking” services to provide our private sector partners the opportunity to meet with our interagency and development partners for brief meet-and-greets to establish relationships, discuss current and upcoming transactions, and explore market opportunities. Agenda highlights to follow. For more information or to confirm your attendance, please contact Jeremy Faber at jefaber@usaid.gov. We look forward to welcoming you Power Africa Week!

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A U.S. Government-led partnership that seeks to add 30,000 MW and 60 million electricity connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030 > https://bit.ly/2yPx3lJ

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