HomeRegional NewsAfricaSnapshot into Power Africa’s 2020 progress in sub-Saharan Africa

Snapshot into Power Africa’s 2020 progress in sub-Saharan Africa

Power Africa, an interagency initiative coordinated by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), has released its 2020 annual report.

The goal of Power Africa has been to expand electricity access and improve electricity supply in the sub-Saharan Africa region. Since its launch in 2013, it has helped connect more than 18 million homes and businesses to electricity and brought over 11,000 megawatts of new generation to financial close.

Mark Carrato, Power Africa Coordinator, emphasised that although the annual report demonstrates that the Power Africa partnership model works, significant work remains, “with a staggering 580 million, or nearly two-thirds of the population, still without electricity, and the economic effects of COVID-19 yet to be fully realised”.

The $2.6 million in grants awarded to solar companies in 2020 is turning lights on and powering life-saving equipment in about 300 clinics, stated Carrato.

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Power Africa highlights for 2020

Advancing power generation and access
• Malawi’s first competitive tender yields 60MW of clean solar energy
• Senegal’s first utility-scale wind farm pumps 159MW of renewable electricity into the grid
• Angola’s planned 343km transmission line will integrate regional grids into a national grid
• Mozambique to boost electricity access through 420MW power plant and 560km transmission line

Promoting renewable energy and reaching beyond the grid
• $315 million mobilised for off-grid renewable energy projects
• $1.2 million for mini-grids to light up rural Madagascar, bring electricity to 28,000 people
• Delivering energy innovations to refugee communities in Uganda and Kenya

Electrifying health facilities: COVID-19 response and recovery
• Keeping lights on at 800+ health facilities via ongoing utility strengthening initiatives
• $5.7 million to bolster the energy sector’s role in COVID-19 response and recovery
• $2.6 million to off-grid solar companies providing electricity to 275 health facilities
• Innovative financing and geospatial data power health response

Supporting innovative finance and US investment
 • Catalysing 30-times return on $1.3 million grant to renewable energy fund
• $91.5 million EXIM loan guarantee to US company to produce clean power for 440,000 people in Senegal and create 500 jobs in 14 US states

Continuing the work

Carrato outlined the focus of the initiative: “We will expand our work with the over 100 US companies we already support on the ground, companies like US-based OffGridBox that are not only electrifying health clinics, but also creating jobs and improving lives by hiring and training female entrepreneurs to operate and maintain their systems.

“We will also advance clean and reliable energy solutions. One project that holds great promise would bring large-scale solar to the southern Africa region – a potential game-changer that can create jobs, power economic recovery and inject low-cost renewable energy into the Southern African Power Pool.”

In partnership with 170 organisations and companies, the US government-led initiative stated that it will continue to reinforce transmission networks, revitalise utilities, increase public and private sector investment and advance renewable energy projects across the continent.

Access the Power Africa 2020 Annual Report

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.