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Obama Energy Initiative

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Many NGOs have been campaigning for years that key development goals across Africa will only be achieved following greater investment to increase local energy capacity and create sustainable energy solutions...

African nations are amongst the fastest growing economies in the world.

However, a lack of access to energy is often cited as a major factor holding back fast growing economies like Ghana from achieving even faster growth and helping to drive key development goals in health and education, etc...

The majority of the population of sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to electricity...

More than 85 per cent of those in rural areas lack access to power...

Against this backdrop Barack Obama has announced a major initiative to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa by tapping Africa’s massive energy resources and unleashing private enterprise...

The US government is promising 7 billion USD of investment with 9 billion USD in initial commitments from the private sector also outlined...

According to the International Energy Agency sub-Saharan Africa could realise full electricity access by 2030 if around $300 billion is invested into energy infrastructure...

Africa has huge oil and gas reserves and enormous potential for a clean energy revolution including wind, wave and solar energy...

The plan outlined by the White House highlights a need for long-term development with a focus on capacity building and energy sector reform...

The programme includes expanding power generation and transmission, and expanding mini grid and off grid solutions, including green energy...

As well as long-term financing and technical assistance...

Initial partner countries include Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda and Mozambique...

Features of the private investment include an Aldwych International backed programme to develop the first major wind power projects in Kenya and Tanzania...

Plans to drive off grid solutions include US African Development Foundation (USADF) grants for African enterprises to develop services benefiting rural and marginalised populations...

Investing in renewable energy solutions and developing energy efficiency is increasingly being recognised as a means of driving jobs as well as health and other benefits across Africa...

Renewables in particular are being acknowledged as especially useful for providing access to energy in remote rural areas of Africa....

Several progressive charities have been promoting this concept for years and fundraising to support their own renewable energy programmes across Africa and in other developing countries...

These include Practical Action in the UK...

In a recent campaign the charity highlighted how one billion people are deprived of adequate healthcare because of lack of energy...

The charity, lead communications partner for the UN Sustainable Energy For All initiative, assessed energy consumption in terms of how it can aid access to services and key resources to improve people’s lives including for example energy for lighting, power for tools, powering education and health etc...

Providing energy for communities who are without means allows access to various ways of improving people’s outlook, including supporting refrigeration for medicines, lighting for cooking and working...

Increasing access to lighting alone can increase productivity in the evenings for communities, helping families, driving up incomes and helping small business growth...

While on a social level investment in education is often cited as the key to development long-term, on an economic one energy is also a key driver that can help small businesses grow...

The Power Africa plan follows on from plenty of criticism of the Obama administration for not contributing enough to African development during his presidency...

The Power Africa plan not only helps to create a much more positive narrative on Africa in terms of Obama’s presidency but more importantly it is exactly the type of smart long-term initiative that progressive NGOs have been highlighting as a crucial way forward to support development improvements...

And is exactly the sort of appeal for investment that many progressive NGOs are calling for in order to boost the fortunes of the poor across Africa, literally powering local services that can help lift communities out of poverty... and into self-sufficiency...

Source: http://www.giving-news.com

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