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The US secretary of state, John Kerry and Thomas R. Kuhn, President of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), have signed a joint statement of intent for collaborative action in support of the modernisation of electric utilities worldwide.

According to a press release issued last week, the alliance will be targeted at the shared goal of accelerating electric power sector reform and development in fragile and underdeveloped markets in which energy access challenges are most prevalent.

[quote]The release stated that “one of the first examples of this collaboration will be the US-Africa Utility Power Sector Exchange project, State and EEI will jointly implement to advance electric power sector reform in select countries in Africa”.

The media statement further said that the partnership will combine the best of the private sector with the State’s diplomatic leadership that seeks to deepen and broaden US support for expanding clean energy access and improving energy efficiency to help modernise Africa’s electric utilities.

Cutting edge power sector

In explaining what other areas the alliance will cover, the statement proclaimed: “The exchange is designed to enhance and deepen African utility CEOs’ expertise on cutting edge power sector management issues.”

It also stated that the exchange will kick-off with a summit in Washington, DC on 6 April 2017.

“This Exchange is part of Power Africa, which is a US government-led initiative with the goal of increasing electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa by adding more than 30,000MW of reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity generation capacity and 60 million new home and business connections,” the statement said.

US to support modernisation

The media release noted that energy is an essential foundation for economic growth, political stability and national security in every part of the world.

This reality is reflected in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, through which nations acknowledge that universal access to safe, affordable, reliable, clean and modern energy for all is integral to the eradication of poverty.

However, worldwide more than 1 billion people are without access to electricity, the statement highlighted.

Even when energy services are available, millions of poor people are unable to pay for them.

“In response to this reality, the State department and EEI have pledged to work together to promote access through modernisation,” the release said.