In the News

Power Africa’s “In the News” is a resource provided by the Power Africa Initiative. This resource provides updates on news coverage about Power Africa.

The following links are to articles written by third-party news outlets. The links to this information are provided for your convenience. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) does not endorse the views or positions stated by the authors of these articles and their media organizations.


Power Africa & Featured Partner Countries
November 1 - 30, 2016


USAID invests US$4 million in African off-grid solar

PV Tech    11/28/2016

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced US$4 million in new investments for off-grid solar in Africa during the COP22 conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. The funds will go to eight selected companies that are supporting solar start-up ventures for the residential sector through the US$36 million ‘Scaling Off-Grid Energy’ programme. Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator of Obama’s Power Africa scheme, said this off-grid development programme is specifically targeted at innovators such as d.light and Greenlight Planet who are “scaling up their inventions” and will provide seed funding for the purposes of geographic expansion, the testing of new business models and the chance to tap into private and public financing alike.

USAID injects $4 million to African off-grid solar

PV Magazine    11/25/2016

At the recent COP 22 in Morocco, USAID announced $4 million funding to eight companies that are revolutionizing household solar power across Africa through the ‘Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development’ scheme. Andrew Herscowitz, President Barack Obama’s coordinator for Power Africa and Trade Africa, said the ‘Grand Challenge for Development’ is a platform that aims to accelerate off-grid energy in sub-Saharan Africa through supporting innovators “who are scaling up their inventions."

The opportunity of Africa for a Trump administration

The Hill    11/21/2016

The Obama Administration Power Africa Initiative, codified into law, by the Electrify Africa Act, recognizes that 2 out of 3 Africans lack access to reliable power and that without power, development, value added, job creation, economic and social stability will not be achieved. It seeks to leverage private investment with public sector technical assistance. This program is consistent with president-elect Trump’s call for prioritizing U.S. infrastructure renewal.

African Development Bank pledges $12bn for renewables

ESI Africa    11/21/2016

Also at the COP22 meeting, the bank received additional funding commitment from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the Power Africa initiative. The Bank-led Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) initiative was awarded a second tranche of funding of $11 million by USAID, in fulfilling its overall commitment of $20 million.

USAID Invests $4million in Eight African-Based Solar Start-ups

Footprint to Africa    11/21/2016

Power Africa Coordinator Andrew M. Herscowitz has announced $4 million in new investments in eight companies that are revolutionizing household power across Africa through the ‘Scaling Off-Grid Energy: Grand Challenge for Development.’ “The Grand Challenge for Development is designed to support innovators like these eight companies who are scaling up their inventions,” said Herscowitz. “The options for powering your home and business are changing and these types of innovations will create opportunities to transform the power sector in homes across the planet.” The Grand Challenge is a $36 million initiative by Power Africa, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and independent charity, Shell Foundation.

Solar's gonna light up the African night

AFP    11/21/2016

According to International Energy Agency projections, almost a billion people in sub-Saharan Africa will gain access to the electric-power grid by 2040, but by that time 530million will still be off-grid, not all that much fewer than the 600million who cannot access power today. "The grid and off-grid solutions are so far apart right now that it's creating a huge space for innovation," enthuses Andrew Herscowitz, co-ordinator for US President Barack Obama's Power Africa initiative. Power Africa, which identifies governments and businesses requiring sustainable and affordable energy, and offers funding and expertise in more than 15 countries, has taken a particular interest in solar.

Africa looks to solar for communities off the grid

Daily Nation    11/20/2016

"The grid and the off-grid are so far apart right now that it's creating a huge space for innovation," enthuses Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator for US President Barack Obama's Power Africa initiative. Power Africa, which identifies governments and businesses requiring sustainable and affordable energy and offers funding and expertise in more than 15 countries, has taken a particular interest in solar. Power Africa is pushing this renewable source so that people "don't have to wait for the grid to arrive to them, they can access a company today and have a solar panel put on their roof," Herscowitz told AFP.

African press review 18 November 2016

RFI Africa    11/18/2016

Power Africa, launched in 2013 with the aim of trebling the sub-Saharan region’s electricity-generating capacity, is generally seen as Obama’s bid to craft a project equivalent to the Bush and Clinton administrations’ signature programmes in Africa. But there are growing fears that president-elect Trump might unplug Power Africa. Trump warned via Twitter soon after the launch of the programme in 2013 that “every penny of the seven billion dollars sent to Africa by Obama will be stolen — corruption is rampant!”

U.S. Experts Urge Trump to Engage Africa

All Africa    11/18/2016

In a guest column published by AllAfrica, Herman J. (“Hank”) Cohen, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa in the administration of the first President Bush, says the Trump administration would do well to maintain President Barack Obama's “excellent” programs to boost electricity supply and modernize agriculture in Africa, known respectively as Power Africa and Feed the Future. The programs are good for American national interests, Cohen says: “Under 'Power Africa', American investors can make good profits selling electric power to African utilities while also contributing to African development – a win-win situation. As for agriculture modernization, the more food that Africa produces on its own, the less food the United States will have to send as humanitarian assistance.”

Obama's Legacy Projects in Africa May Be Targeted By Trump

The East African    11/18/2016

Power Africa and the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) -- are examples of American "soft power." They stand in contrast to US military muscle, which has stirred fear and resentment in parts of the continent. President Obama has put emphasis on this more benign US role in the international arena, and he will surely seek to preserve Power Africa and YALI, insofar as he is able, during the next four years.

Solar innovators get $4m USAID investments

Disrupt Africa    11/17/2016

“The Grand Challenge for Development is designed to support innovators like these eight companies who are scaling up their inventions,” said Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator of Power Africa, a partner on the Challenge. “The options for powering your home and business are changing, and these types of innovations will create opportunities to transform the power sector in homes across the planet.” Applications for funding were evaluated based on three criteria: cost effectiveness relative to traditional alternatives, the plan for collecting rigorous evidence of success, and proposed pathways to scale if proven effective.

Africa’s Economic Promise

Huffington Post Blog    11/17/2016

“Africa is a critical market for the US politically and economically, as well as for global security,” Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator of the Obama Administration’s Power Africa program, told me in an interview in Nairobi. Africa is also a hub for tech innovation. Among the Kenyan firms creating buzz is open-source software developer Ushahidi, which created QuakeMap, a powerful crisis response platform that helps people communicate during natural disasters. Ushahidi also created BRCK, a rugged portable wi-fi hotspot and battery extender useful in remote regions.

PTA Bank and StanChart partner on Power Africa loan

Global Trade Review    11/16/2016

Standard Chartered has issued a US$50mn term loan to PTA Bank to finance power projects in East and Southern Africa. The facility is part of Power Africa, an initiative launched by US President Obama in 2013 to provide access to electricity across Sub-Saharan Africa. Standard Chartered acted as the sole lender and co-ordinator, mandated lead arranger and facility agent, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) as the loan guarantor.

Trump Presidency: What Next for AGOA, Power Africa & YALI?

PR Share    11/16/2016

The “Power Africa” initiative was launched in 2013, by President Obama with the goal of increasing access to electricity and spurring economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. The target is to achieve 60ml connections with a capacity of 30,000 megawatts of new and cleaner power generation across the region. So far in 2016, the U.S has committed about $7bl to the initiative, while  the US African Development Foundation announced this year  20 new $100,000 grants for African energy entrepreneurs in the newest round of the Off-Grid Energy Challenge.

Powering Africa

African Law and Business    11/15/2016

According to Borba, the solution to making these projects bankable may lie in development finance institutions (DFIs). “DFIs are a great bridge between the public and private sectors,” Borba explains, and not just in terms of providing financing: “They can provide support to governments in undertaking legal and regulatory reforms.” One such initiative is Power Africa.  Launched by USAID in 2013, it combines funding and support from the World Bank, African Development Bank and various other DFIs with over 120 private sector partners. Power Africa projects are expected to add 29 GW to capacity, with over 4.6 GW of projects having already reached financial close.


Newsweek    11/15/2016

Obama will end his tenure as the first American president of African descent, a powerful contribution in itself, at least rhetorically, for U.S.-Africa relations. His key accomplishments include setting up Power Africa, the ambitious $7 billion plan to expand electrification across Africa, and convening the first U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit and two U.S.-Africa Business Forums.

Going out in a blaze: DOE announces clean energy financing & projects

PV Magazine    11/15/2016

DOE also announced that it is expanding the development of renewable energy projects and access to renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa through the Power Africa Initiative. This includes new collaborations with Microsoft, the Acumen Fund and the United Nations Foundation, and a partnership with Morocco to host the first solar decathlon competition in Africa.

Opinion: Trump, the anti-Obama for Africa

DW News    11/14/2016

Africa's health sector - starting with George W. Bush's presidential AIDS program PEPFAR - fears the loss of billions of dollars of donations, which in recent years have brought about significant improvements in basic healthcare and research. The fate of Barack Obama's ambitious energy program "Power Africa" lies in the balance.

Obama Administration Announces New Financing For Renewable Energy Projects And Actions To Spur

Innovation And Promote Energy Access Globally   11/14/2016

Launching the Power Africa initiative with the goal of doubling energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. To date, the U.S. Government’s pledge to commit more than $7 billion in financial support for Power Africa has leveraged more than $52 billion in additional commitments from public and private sector partners. Power Africa has already helped bring renewable energy projects to financial close that are expected to generate 2,000 megawatts (MW) from biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower.

Why the New White House Should Love Power Africa

Center for Global Development    11/14/2016

We know very little about what a Trump administration will do about longstanding US efforts to combat global hunger, disease, and poverty. Until we see key appointments, we don’t know what’s next for development policy to promote jobs, stability, and economic growth either. What is, for instance, the future of Power Africa? The Trump campaign said little about these questions, and I could find no mention of Power Africa in campaign materials. The sole data point is one three-year old tweet after the launch of Power Africa claiming that $7 billion going to Africa would be stolen. I’m loathe to assume a single tweet tells us anything about future policy.

Impact Of Trump Presidency For Africa – Analysis

Eurasia Review    11/14/2016

In terms of aid, one can be sure this will not be a primary issue on the agenda of Trump, given his isolationist stance and promise to ‘make America great again.’ However, one will have to wait to see whether Trump will quietly continue important initiatives piloted under the Obama administration, such as Power Africa and the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit. An important consideration for African leaders which must be relayed to Trump is the notion of a relationship with the continent based on partnership rather than charity. In spite of the criticism Obama has received for his legacy on the continent, this was an important idea that he pushed in his engagements with Africa throughout his presidency. Apart from Trump’s undertaking ‘to lock African dictators up’ he has not provided any insight into how he intends to engage Africa more broadly.

West African Leader Expects Trump to Moderate His Most Controversial Stands

Wall Street Journal    11/13/2016

The U.S. currently spends billions in Africa on aid and investment and Mr. Trump’s predecessors both launched personal projects there. Mr. Obama started the “Power Africa” project, which aims to double the number of people who have electricity on the continent, and also has encouraged businesses to invest there. President George W. Bush started the President’s Emergency Plan for Aids Relief, which provided drugs for millions of HIV patients.

Amid angst, US energy diplomat points to bipartisan support for powering Africa

Engineering News   11/11/2016

The briefing followed the surprise election of Trump as America’s forty-fifth President, a development that has raised uncertainty about the country’s stance on various African programmes, including Power Africa and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act. Warlick said she could not “speculate” on the approach that would be taken by the new administration, but highlighted that Republicans and Democrats had worked together in February 2016 to pass the Electrify Africa Act.

Donald Trump’s climate policy could shut off electricity to millions of people in Africa

Quartz Africa    11/11/2016

Obama’s signature Africa project, though, focused on promoting clean energy and investing in renewable sources like wind and solar. The $7 billion, five-year Power Africa project was aimed at providing electricity and creating 60 million new connections in sub-Saharan Africa by 2030. “It’s the connection needed to plug Africa into the grid of the global economy. You’ve got to have power,” Obama said when Power launched in 2013.

Will Trump Upend Bipartisan Consensus on U.S.Africa Policy?

All Africa    11/11/2016

This consensus, supported by Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama, was predicated on the notion that Africa has opportunities worth U.S. attention and investment. In the past two decades, Congress not only passed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), but also enacted transformative initiatives such as the President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), created the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) and, more recently, passed the Power Africa Act, the Food Security Act, and AGOA's extension.

Mixed reactions in Africa to Trump victory

DW News    11/10/2016

Experts were undecided if the Trump win will lead to a change to US foreign policy towards Africa. Trump's announcement that he will put American interests first could mean the end of US economic initiatives such as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a scheme which gives preferential treatment to exports from selected African countries to the United States. The "Power Africa" program, initiated by incumbent president Barack Obama, could also be at stake.

Is Africa on Donald Trump's radar?

BBC News    11/10/2016

But Africans would say that - President-elect Trump won't get anything like the reception President Obama received last year when he came to Kenya. He had strong connections here - his father was Kenyan - and he launched his Power Africa project, which aims to double the number of people with electricity across the continent.

US Embassy officials pay working visit to West Africa’s solar manufacturing site

CitiFM    11/9/2016

The Chief Operating Officer of 3SiL, Mr. Joseph Otoo explained the various components of the solar panel manufacturing process and indicated that all solar panels are produced in strict accordance with certified international standards. The visit by the delegation follows the launch and gradual implementation of a Power Africa Initiative and the passing of the Electrifying Africa Act by the United States Congress.

Africa after Obama

How We Made it in Africa    11/8/2016

President Obama launched the US$7bn Power Africa initiative, aimed at providing 30,000 MW to 60 million households and businesses by 2030. Africa’s largest wind power project in Lake Turkana, Kenya, benefited from this initiative. Moreover, President Obama extended AGOA to 2025, and to strengthen the US-Africa engagement on trade and finance, the US-Africa Business Forum was organised in 2014 and again this year in 2016. In his last official visit to Africa in 2015, President Obama also engaged with the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Emerging issues in financing geothermal projects in the East Africa region

Think Geo Energy    11/7/2016

At the African Rift Geothermal Conference that ended on Friday last week, several interesting panels discussed the future of geothermal energy development in Africa. In a special plenary session on financing, several financial organisations discussed modalities and challenges associated with financing geothermal projects in the East Africa region. In the panel to discuss this important topic were Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Icelandic International Development Agency (MFA-ICEIDA), East African Geothermal Facility (EAGER), the United States East African Geothermal Program (US-EAGP) under the Power Africa program, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and World Bank, as well as an energy financing consultant.

Advancing the Goals of the Power Africa Initiative to Expand Access to Electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa

EIN Newsdesk    11/7/2016

On June 30, 2013, my Administration launched Power Africa, a new initiative to double access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa, where more than two-thirds of the population is without electricity, and more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas lack access to electricity. In its initial phase, Power Africa aimed to add more than 10,000 MW of cleaner, more efficient electricity generation capacity and to increase electricity access by at least 20 million new households and commercial entities with on-grid, mini-grid, and off-grid solutions. Power Africa builds on Africa's enormous power potential, including extensive clean geothermal, hydro, wind and solar energy resources, as well as vast oil and gas reserves. Power Africa works with countries to develop resources responsibly, build out power generation, transmission, and distribution, and expand the reach of mini-grid and off-grid solutions. Power Africa brings to bear a wide range of tools from across the Federal Government and more than 130 public and private sector partners to support investment in Africa's energy sector.

US Solar Developer Renewvia Brings Electricity to Rural Area Kenya

Microgrid News    11/7/2016

Renewvia’s work in Kenya also includes conducting a feasibility study for the development of solar microgrids in key geographies in Kenya funded by a grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) as part of the Power Africa initiative. Renewvia will develop microgrid solar and battery storage systems at eight locations across Kenya with a combined 1.5 MW of new power generation capacity. Successful implementation of the project would help to electrify an estimated 15,000 – 18,000 households and businesses in addition to identifying hundreds more trading center in need of power under the same terms.

Hope Defines Obama's Legacy in Africa

Voice of America    11/3/2016

In 2013, Obama launched the Power Africa initiative, to try to double access to electricity across sub-Saharan Africa. Obama's legacy also includes increased military support in Somalia to fight al-Shabab, and in Cameroon and Chad to tackle Boko Haram, as well as his intervention in Libya. The latter was part of the NATO-led, multistate military intervention, a response to events during Libya's civil war in 2011.

Power Africa Launches New Partnership with the Nile Basin Initiative and the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program

U.S. Embassy in Kenya  Clipped 11/1/2016

Power Africa announced a new partnership arrangement with the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and the Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Program (NELSAP) focused on increasing regional power interconnections and generation among the Nile Equatorial Lakes countries. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States and NBI — signed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Executive Director of the NBI Secretariat  —  centers on collaboration, funding and technical assistance for regional power generation among the participating Nile Basin countries.



APR wins Benin fast-track gas plant deal

PEI  11/8/2016

Once the Benin project is complete, APR Energy will have installed more than 1000 MW of generating capacity in 11 African countries since 2008. “As a partner in the US government’s Power Africa initiative, we are proud to be playing a significant role in bringing electricity to the people and businesses of Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Campion.

APR Energy to Generate 50MW in Benin Power Project

Footprint to Africa  11/8/2016

Most of the employees who will install, operate and maintain the plant will be hired from the local workforce, creating jobs in the West African nation. APR Energy is a partner in the United States government’s Power Africa Initiative. With the Benin project, it will have installed over one thousand megawatts of generating capacity in 11 African countries since 2008.

APR Energy Wins 50MW Power Generation Project in Benin

PowerMag  11/7/2016

With the 50MW in Benin, APR Energy will have installed more than 1,000MW of generating capacity in 11 African countries since 2008. “As a partner in the U.S. government’s Power Africa initiative, we are proud to be playing a significant role in bringing electricity to the people and businesses of Sub-Saharan Africa,” Campion said.


ECG Privatisation - Court Dismisses Injunction Suit

Business Day Ghana  11/15/2016

Under the four-year compact deal, Ghana must cede ECG's management to a private company. The compact is the largest U.S. government transaction to date, under Power Africa, and is expected to serve as an anchor for increased American engagement in Ghana.


Kenya Energy Receives $1 Million Boost From Obama Administration

Afrika News  11/21/2016

The Obama administration launched a  $7-billion “Power Africa” plan to support clean energy production in Kenya and Sub-Saharan African nations. The 2016 American congress approved the funding for the next five years. The new Donald Trump administration will not likely the cooperation plan. The USTDA will pay $998,000 to a contractor to conduct the study on behalf of Kenya  energy company KenGen.

Obama sending another $1 million to Kenya

WND    11/16/2016

The studies represent preliminary actions that the administration is taking to execute recent portions of its $7 billion “Power Africa” plan, a congressionally approved five-year project to deploy primarily “green” power capabilities across Kenya and other sub-Saharan nations.


U.S. 2016 Election - Embassy Officials Expect Peaceful Transition of Power

New Times  11/9/2016

Greenfield expects initiatives championed by President Obama such as, YALI and Power Africa, to also be seen through by whichever administration follows his presidency. The conference detailed logistics of voting abroad in American elections, outlining that after submitting a federal postcard application American citizens abroad are mailed a ballot and can return their votes through various procedures depending on their selective states.


What America’s tantrum means for Africa

The Guardian    11/15/2016

On Aid and Development – USAID the United States Agency for International Development which has had a long and often contentious history in Africa, known mostly for its failed aid model forged a new partnership with Africa during the Obama presidency, most notably the joint venture – Power Africa project which was aimed at lighting up the continent. While candidate Trump never specifically addressed Power Africa, he did declare an end to foreign “nation building”, which we can only assume this massive infrastructure undertaking will qualify as. If President Trump were to put an end to the Power Africa project, it will set back the already underperforming project. President Obama also continued his predecessor George W. Bush’s – Presidents Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief PEPFAR, although drastically reducing its funding each year. Safe to say an inward-looking President Trump will reduce it even further if he doesn’t terminate the program altogether, given that he once tweeted “Every penny of the $7Billion going to Africa as per Obama will be stolen – Corruption is rampant.”

Why U.S. Is 'Slow' in Helping Nigeria Recover Stolen Assets - Envoy

Premium Times  11/3/2016

President Obama is committed to Power Africa programme he announced towards increasing the generation capacity in Africa by 30,000 megawatts by adding 60 million new connections to households in Africa. The challenges of bringing energy electricity to Nigeria are huge. But, as I said earlier, Nigeria is the most populous country in sub-Saharan Africa, and the second largest economy.

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