Nairobi to test drive Kenya Power’s smart meters project

Citi pledges $2.5 billion to Power Africa

Citi, the multinational bank headquartered in Manhattan, has pledged $2.5 billion in incremental capital to fund the Power Africa initiative, which aims to bring electricity to millions in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Citi’s CEO for the Europe, the Middle East and Africa region Jim Cowles says, “We are proud to be a partner in this phenomenal project, an initiative to double the number of people who have access to electricity across Africa. Citi has a unique footprint in Africa and a commitment to enabling progress on the Continent through our technical expertise, financing and risk mitigation tools.”

Citi says that it will use its skills and resources to help foster development in local capital markets – a step that will encourage foreign investors to get involved – and improve efficiencies and transparency across the industry.

Nigeria primed to absorb 30% of funds

Nigeria’s rapid economic growth suggests that country consume a large chunk of the available Power Africa funds. Recently, as part of the proceedings of the National Council on Power being held in Abuja, the Federal Government said that Nigeria is positioned to take on roughly 30 percent of the US funds.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power Godknows Igali has indicated that various investors, including US-company General Electric (GE) and the World Bank, have expressed their preference for investment into Nigeria.

Bringing electricity to 20 million homes

At present roughly two in three Sub-Saharan Africans have no electricity in their homes. They must rely on expensive and unhealthy sources of power such as firewood and diesel-operated generators. Power Africa aims to add more than 10,000 megawatts of cleaner, more efficient electricity generating capacity, and in the process electrify at least 20 million new households and commercial entities with on-grid, mini-grid and off-grid solutions.

“The billions of dollars available for investment in the energy sector will translate into actual bulbs in people’s homes and electricity necessary to grow small businesses if state utilities run efficiently and effectively,” says AfDB President Donald Kaberuka. “The policy reforms will facilitate and enhance cross-border energy markets.”

Launched by US President Barack Obama in June 2013, Power Africa is a collaborative effort between the governments of the US, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia, together with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and various private and public sector stakeholders to provide the tools needed to facilitate growth in Africa’s power sector. The aim, at the end of the day, is to bring greater energy security and economic prosperity to Africa.

David Okwara

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