Sweden’s Commitment to Power Africa

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, August 5, 2014
USAID Press Office

As part of the U.S. Africa Leaders Summit, earlier today, the Government of Sweden formally announced a commitment to catalyze investments of one billion dollars to President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative. The commitment from Sweden represents, for example, grants for distribution and transmission projects, and guarantees and loans for Power Africa projects.  Sweden’s engagement and financial guarantees, along with those from the United States, will unlock additional private sector investment that is so critical for transforming the energy sector in Africa.

Power Africa is helping provide electricity to millions of sub-Saharan Africans through an innovative U.S. Government development model which emphasizes the role of the private sector as well as from multilateral organizations and foreign governments. Power Africa aims to double the number of people with access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa by unlocking the substantial wind, solar, hydropower, natural gas, and geothermal resources in the region to enhance energy security, decrease poverty, and advance economic growth. In addition to adding 10,000 MW of energy, Power Africa will also enhance energy resource management capabilities, allowing partner countries to meet their critical energy needs and achieve sustainable, long-term energy security. Sweden’s contribution represents the first bilateral financial commitment for Power Africa from a foreign government.

This represents the next step in an already robust partnership between Sweden and the United States on development, and USAID’s ongoing efforts to deepen our collaboration with key partners. The spark for this partnership began during President Obama's trip to Stockholm in September 2013, when he met with principals from across the Nordic region and reaffirmed our joint commitments to deepen collaboration in the energy sector by bringing together government and private sector actors to promote technical, policy, and financial pathways to more efficient power systems in Africa.  

“I am proud to announce Sweden’s participation in President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative,” said Swedish Minister for Finance Anders Borg. “Our participation is a clear sign of the solid partnership between Sweden and the US in the field of development cooperation. Power Africa marks a new age in the use of innovative financing solutions in development cooperation. By focusing on the energy sector more people and areas will gain access to electricity, which will be a strong force to economic and social development to the benefit of poor people.”

Since President Obama formally launched Power Africa in late June 2013, the initiative has made substantial progress in increasing electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa.  Of the initial 10,000 Megawatt (MW) goal of increased electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa, Power Africa has already supported roughly 2,700 MW’s worth of transactions with another 5,000 MW worth of projects in the planning stages.  Sweden’s contributions will enhance the impact ability of Power Africa by further driving catalytic impact funding from the private sector for the development of more electrification projects throughout sub-Saharan Africa.  These new projects under Power Africa range from large scale 1,000 MW geothermal plants to smaller 10 MW off-grid projects in very remote areas which cannot rely on a national electric grid for their energy access needs.

"For most of the world, electricity allows businesses to flourish, clinics to store vaccines, and students to study long after dark," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "But for 600 million people across Africa, these opportunities simply do not exist. With this commitment, we will not only unlock opportunity, but shape a cleaner and more sustainable energy future for the continent."

Sweden’s funding efforts will also further amplify the initiative’s key objectives of addressing government reform efforts tied to electricity access in the Power Africa focus countries.