Coordinator Update

Our work continues in this same spirit, as we are proud to share the new Power Africa Roadmap and Power Africa Tracking Tool (PATT), launched at the Powering Africa Summit in Washington.

By Andrew M. Herscowitz

Dear Partners,

We begin with sad news of the passing of Shari Berenbach, President & CEO of the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF). Shari (pictured here at a Power Africa project groundbreaking in Kenya) was an energetic and visionary leader, dedicated to channeling public and private sector interest into Africa and to improving conditions for underserved people and communities across the continent. Her commitment to Power Africa was genuine and deep, and she worked tirelessly alongside our team to turn on the lights and power local businesses and communities. She will be greatly missed.

Our work continues in this same spirit, as we are proud to share the new and Power Africa Tracking Tool (PATT), launched at the Powering Africa Summit in Washington. Many of you contributed significantly to these products, and we are excited to use these tools to guide our work with you to make sure that we reach President Obama's goals.

Yesterday, President Obama signed into law the Electrify Africa Act of 2015. This law, which enjoys strong bipartisan support, prioritizes partnerships and assistance for power projects and markets in sub-Saharan Africa, and it institutionalizes Power Africa beyond the Obama administration. A diverse group of stakeholders strongly supported the Electrify Africa legislation, ranging from the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to the ONE Campaign.

Electrify Africa Legislation

We are thrilled to report that President Obama signed the Electrify Africa Act of 2015 (S. 2152) into law on February 8! The legislation was passed by the House on February 1, after previously passing the Senate in December. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) cited the great work of the Power Africa team during his remarks on the House floor, and Power Africa partner Tony Elumelu met with Members of Congress to show support for the legislation, He and fellow Nigerian Aliko Dangote penned an op-ed in The Hill, urging passage of the bill.

The Power Africa Roadmap

Hundreds gathered at the Powering Africa Summit in Washington, DC last week to enjoy a “dramatic reading” of the Power Africa Roadmap. We were joined onstage by eight of our partners, who each highlighted their own contributions to President Obama’s key initiative. 

The Power Africa Roadmap shows how the collective efforts of more than 120 public and private sector partners fit together to achieve our ambitious goal of adding 30,000 megawatts (MW) and 60 million connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. The Roadmap outlines Power Africa’s three strategic pillars: Generation, Connections, and Unlocking Energy Sector Potential. These three pillars will help our partners to accelerate energy transactions by working with African governments to create the policy, legal, and regulatory frameworks needed to attract private sector investment in the energy sector.

It provides energy practitioners, academics, politicians, development partners, and other interested parties with insight on how electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa can be doubled if all stakeholders work together to advance that common goal. Download the Power Africa Roadmap here.

The Power Africa Tracking Tool (PATT)

screenshot of the the Power Africa Tracking Tool (PATT) - a powerful new platform that allows for easy, real-time tracking of p

Also, Power Africa has been working for months with our teams in the field to validate data, review transactions, and coordinate with our private sector partners on the launch of the Power Africa Tracking Tool (PATT). The PATT is a mobile app that displays information on deals that Power Africa is tracking all over the continent, and it represents Power Africa's commitment to transparency.

The information in PATT is among the most complete and comprehensive sources of such data available, and it is searchable by technology, partner, country, stage, and more. The PATT app will not only help ensure that you have the most up-to-date information on a particular deal, but it also is a fantastic resource for when you need this information at your fingertips. You can download the iPhone app now, and an Android version will be launched in the coming weeks.

Power Africa Partners Meetings

The day before the Powering Africa Summit, more than 200 Power Africa partners gathered for an advance roll-out of the Roadmap and PATT, as well as to touch base on Power Africa in general. Various partners had the opportunity to describe the work they do to others. Enthusiasm and appreciation for the work that Power Africa is doing continues to grow as companies realize how we can help remove obstacles to energy deals in Africa. Our model is working because we're filling a void that helps bridge the market imperfections that hold deals back.

Powering Africa Summit

The 2016 Powering Africa Summit convened hundreds of energy sector stakeholders from Africa and the United States to discuss ways to attract capital, develop bankable projects, ensure social safeguards, and more. Power Africa and partners played significant roles in the conference and related side meetings. Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) CEO Dana Hyde, U.S. Trade & Development Agency (USTDA) Director Lee Zak, Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield, and State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation Melanie Nakagawa, among others, each gave Power Talk keynote addresses during the Conference. Check out our Flickr gallery for photos from the event, and recap some of the top tweets via the Twitter hashtag #PAS16.

New Partnership with Akon Lighting Africa

Another highlight of the Powering Africa Summit was the extensive participation of hip-hop icon Akon and his team, who continue to demonstrate deep knowledge of and a commitment to transforming the off-grid space in sub-Saharan Africa. What has been most impressive about his team is how they continue to learn from their experiences and shift their focus as appropriate. When they first started Akon Lighting Africa, they focused heavily on rooftop solar systems, then shifted to solar-powered street lamps to light communities, and now are focused on micro-grids. They have been working with U.S. universities to evaluate how piloted micro-grid programs can be scaled to commercial viability across West Africa. We’re looking forward to this exciting and innovative partnership.

Launch of the AfDB’s New Deal on Energy in Africa

During the World Economic Forum Conference at Davos, the African Development Bank launched its New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aspires to add 160 GW of new power, 130 million new grid connections, and 75 million new off-grid connections by 2025. The AfDB recognizes that its initiative is extremely ambitious and is counting on partners like Power Africa to contribute to its goals. USAID Administrator Gayle Smith joined AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, Bono, and other leads at the New Deal’s launch.

Advancing Gender Issues

We were thrilled that Deloitte hosted a gender-focused event during the Powering Africa Summit, where we were able to highlight the importance of gender in the energy sector and encourage participation in Power Africa's Women in African Power network. At the same time, USAID’s Energy and Infrastructure Office released a report titled “Engendering Utilities” showing that women work in diverse jobs at all management levels, alongside men who are their counterparts within utility companies. The findings not only illustrate gender diversity of employment within utility companies, but it also suggests that interventions designed to improve gender diversity must be carefully tailored to the circumstances of individual companies.

Power Africa Grid Management Support Program (GMSP) in Ethiopia

USAID is undertaking a 14-16 month project (currently in progress) designed to assist Ethiopia with the operation of an economic and reliable power system as it expands. The GMSP includes: (i) a System Integration Study to examine the current grid and planned additions, and evaluate technical and operational aspects needed to ensure that the future power system will work reliably and efficiently; (ii) Grid Code Development to specify the rules and responsibilities for all entities related to system planning and systems operation; and (iii) System Operation Gap Analysis to identify gaps that need to be addressed to deliver quality and reliable electrical services to the end users as it expands over the next 10 years.

Nigerians Now Pay More for More Reliable Power

Regulated electricity tariffs were increased. In December 2015, the outgoing Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) commissioners approved the tariff order, which eliminates fixed distribution costs but dramatically increases the cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity. In a panel discussion during the Powering Africa Summit in Washington, Funke Osibodu, Chief Executive of Benin Electric Distribution Company, suggested that the new tariffs are fully cost reflective, potentially paving the way for new borrowing and capital investment by the distribution companies. In addition, generation capacity reached a record high of 5,075 MW, which the government attributes to increased cooperation within the power sector -- more gas was made available to the generation companies -- a key part of Power Africa’s Roadmap strategy of increasing efficiency.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and Power Africa

The Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) is advancing ‪‎Power Africa’s goals and our Roadmap targets through investments in ‪‎Africa's energy sector. Learn more about MCC’s contributions and see how their work is helping lay the foundation for businesses to invest in power projects that will grow economies and reduce poverty across the continent.

MCC Compact with Liberia Enters Into Force

The US$ 256.7 million agreement signed October 2 officially entered into force on January 20. The Compact will further strengthen the energy sector through strategic investments in capacity building for the Ministry of Land, Mines and Energy and the Liberia Electricity Corporation.

Progress in MCC Malawi Compact

In MCC’s Malawi Compact, steps were taken toward establishing an enabling environment for private investment to support new power generation in Malawi with the submission of an independent power producer (IPP) framework for consideration by power sector stakeholders. The IPP framework reviews key issues associated with public procurement in Malawi and outlines the steps associated with procurement of new power generation.The Compact is also funding a dynamic load flow and grid capacity study, which is now underway.

Senergy 29 MW Solar PV Transaction Reaches Financial Close

In Senegal, Synergy’s 29 MW solar PV project has reached financial close. Power Africa’s Regional Transaction Advisor helped with the details of the financial proposal. OPIC is providing political risk insurance.

RFP on “Scaling Solar” Initiative in Zambia

The Zambian government's Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), with transaction advisory support from Power Africa partner the International Finance Corporation, is now in the final stages of preparing a detailed RFP that will be issued to the 11 pre-qualified bidders under the “Scaling Solar” initiative. The IFC has set an ambitious target of August for having first power.

Increased Collaboration with NGOs

During the Powering Africa Summit, I participated in a panel with several NGOs, including Oxfam, on how to battle energy poverty. Among the great benefits of the work that we do is meeting interesting, committed people (like all of you) who want to see the lives of millions of people improve. At COP 21, I met Ilmi Granoff, a lawyer who has turned to his passion – alleviating energy poverty. We wanted to share a few of Ilmi’s recent writings and publications:

These field updates give you only a glimpse into all the hard work that is going into transforming the African continent’s energy sector. Our teams advocate for competitive tenders, seek VAT exemptions for off-grid products, conduct grid studies so that the grid can actually handle intermittent renewable energy that everyone is pushing for, offer policy advice on kerosene and gas subsidies and the economic impact of those subsidies, train regulators to better understand tariff structures and approaches, and provide host government officials with tools to help them negotiating fair and sustainable Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA), and more, and more, and more.

We still have a long way to go, but there’s no question that we have the right people, the right partners, and the right agencies taking the right approaches to achieve ambitious goals.

As always, thanks for your support.