The World Bank Group has committed $5 billion in new technical and financial support
for energy projects in six African countries, namely, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria and Tanzania, who partnered with President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.
World Bank Group President, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, who made the announcement yesterday, at the second day of the first US-Africa Summit, noted that the new financial commitment was urgently needed to generate more electricity for the people of Africa, 600 million of whom have no access to electricity despite 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.
“We think that the US Power Africa initiative will play an extremely important role in achieving the goal of providing electricity for Africa. So today I’m very pleased to announce that the World Bank Group, following President Obama’s lead, will partner 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, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, and Tanzania. The US government and the World Bank Group 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,” Kim said.
He also stated 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 fire for indoor cooking.
“Africa has vast hydropower potential but uses just 8 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,” he added.
Also speaking at the event, the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, said: “Like Europe and the rest of the world, 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. 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 neighbouring states with less energy and generation capacity can benefit from this integrated approach to delivering electricity to their people,” he explained.