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Obama-era 'Power Africa' program to continue under Trump
October 12, 2017, 4:18 pm

President Donald Trump, who has shown a penchant for dismantling or diluting many of the policies of his predecessor Barack Obama, has however chosen to continue with the Obama-era ‘Power Africa’ program, which seeks to double access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030.

The US government's coordinator for the ‘Power Africa’ program, Andrew Herscowitz, said during a recent press briefing in Pretoria, South Africa, that many in the current administration are appreciative of how the program harnesses private sector funds to advance development goals.

The private sector invests between 50 and 100 dollars in projects for every one dollar of government money, Mr. Herscowitz said. "So this is a model that many in the administration really like and want to see continue."

He said a number of top officials, including the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, have made statements in support of Power Africa and indicated that they intended to continue it. He added that the program is on track to achieve its overall goals. It has tripled its initial goals and now aims to generate 30,000 megawatts and make 60 million connections by 2030. Moreover, three of every four projects generate renewable energy and many countries are beginning with smaller solar and wind projects.

Developing connections with electricity distribution grids is still a “significant challenge, but we see tremendous growth in the companies that are providing solar home systems, the pay-as-you-go models, where people in peri-urban and rural areas are able to get access, not just a simple tower and light bulbs, but to clothing irons and electric razors, and televisions, radio chargers, all with a small solar panel that costs them less than $2 a day, sometimes less than 50 cents a day."


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