The World Bank (WB) Group has committed $5 billion in new technical and financial support for energy projects in Ghana, and five other African countries, which have partnered with President Barack Obama’s Power Africa initiative.
Liberia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania are the rest.
Making the announcement on the second day of the First US-Africa Summit, WB Group President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, said the new financial commitment was urgently needed to generate more electricity for the 600 million people of Africa who have no access to electricity.
The energy problem exists regardless of the fact that Africa possesses some of the world’s largest hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar potential, as well as significant oil and natural gas reserves.
In statement to the Ghana News Agency in Accra though the WB Ghana Office, Dr Kim said the U.S. Power Africa initiative will play an extremely important role in achieving the goal of providing electricity for Africa.
“So today I am very pleased to announce that the WB, following President Obama’s lead, will partner with Power Africa by committing $5 billion in direct financing, investment guarantees, and advisory services for project preparation in Power Africa’s six initial partner countries,” he said.
He said the US Government and the WB are working now on specific tasks and milestones, which could help to achieve one quarter of Power Africa’s goal of generating 10,000 megawatts of new power in Sub Saharan Africa.
Dr Kim explained that Africa’s power crisis forces families and communities to spend significant amounts of their income on costly and unhealthy forms of energy, such as diesel generators or wood for indoor cooking fires.
“Africa has vast hydropower potential but uses just eight per cent of this untapped water force.
“In comparison, Western Europe uses 85 per cent of its available hydropower potential, which has contributed to their economic development and industrialization,” Dr Kim noted.
Makhtar Diop, World Banks Vice President for Africa, said Africa deserves the same opportunity to exploit this green source of power to improve the lives and economic prospects of its people.
“Beyond building up power generators, they must be connected to the market, which calls for regional cooperation to build the transmission network, he said.”
“We are working with African leaders and their development partners to create power pools in Africa’s East, West, Central, and Southern sub-regions.
“Those countries with abundant geothermal, gas, hydro, solar, and wind resources can feed their excess power supply into a common pool, while neighboring states with less energy and generation capacity can benefit from this integrated approach to delivering electricity to their people.” GNA