Obama launches $7bn African energy plan

President Obama launched a $7bn energy plan for Africa on Sunday.

The Power Africa scheme aims to double energy access in sub-Saharan Africa where more than two-thirds of the population currently has no electricity.

“We’re going to start by investing $7 billion in US government resources. We’re going to partner with the private sector, who themselves have committed more than $9 billion in investment. And in partnership with African nations, we’re going to develop new sources of energy,” said Obama during a speech in Cape Town.

Obama has announced $7bn of public money and $9bn more from the private sector (Source: Flickr/White House)

The president’s plan will focus on enabling US companies to access the African market.

After pledging last week that the US will back away from coal power investments overseas, the Power Africa programme appears to largely stick to that pledge.

Geothermal, solar, hydro and wind power all feature on the list of proposed projects. The project will also help develop oil and gas resources in Africa.

Private companies including General Electric have pledged a total of $9bn to install 8GW of power generation capacity.

“We’ll reach more households not just in cities, but in villages and on farms. We’ll expand access for those who live currently off the power grid. And we’ll support clean energy to protect our planet and combat climate change,” said the President.

“So, a light where currently there is darkness; the energy needed to lift people out of poverty – that’s what opportunity looks like.”

The scheme will complement UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All programme that looks to double the rate of energy efficiency improvements, double the share of renewables globally and achieve near universal access to energy.

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