“Power Africa” was American presidential initiative launched by President Barack Obama in July 2013. The initiative aims at supporting economic growth and development by increasing access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable power in Africa.
There is a direct correlation between economic growth and power supply required on sub-Saharan Africa to fulfill its promise.
Catalysing Africa’s Energy Transition
Sub-Saharan Africa is starved of stable power. The region’s power sector is significantly underdeveloped, looking at power access, installed capacity, or overall consumption. The fact that sub-Saharan Africa’s residential and industrial sectors suffer power shortages means that countries struggle to sustain GDP growth. The stakes are enormous. Indeed, fulfilling the economic and social promise of the region, and Africa in general, depends on the ability of government and investors to develop the continent’s huge power capacity.
Power access should be a key part of African governments’ economic development agenda. They have a key role in aligning policies to build an enabling regulatory environment in support of the creation of markets for mini-grids; to increase opportunities for interactivity between mini-grids and the national grid; to ensure budgetary allocation to enable this; and to develop expansion programs with committed funding streams.
Africa relies heavily on wood or other biomass for cooking and heating, a cause of outdoor and indoor air pollution, wreaking havoc on our health and the environment. We need to tap into alternative power sources by investing more in solar technologies, clean energy, affordable smart meters, and more efficient battery storage. Off-grid solutions will decrease our high dependence on fossil fuels, which makes it expensive to generate and provide power supply.